Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan claims two TDs and a Senator had their penalty points quashed
Independent TD claims Fine Gael’s Andrew Doyle, Fianna Fáil’s Robert Troy and Labour’s John Kelly had points quashed.
Fianna Fail spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley, and party colleague Niall Collins Fianna fail spokesperson on Justice with Gemma O’Farrell at Leinster House yesterday . Gemma’s 23-year-old brother Shane was killed by a hit and run driver in August 2011 in Monaghan and Fianna Fail have published a bill to crack down on hit and run drivers by introducing tougher penalties and extending the powers of arrest of the gardaí. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien.
Three members of the Oireachtas who allegedly had penalty points quashed for traffic offences have been named in the Dáil.
Independent TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan who himself had penalty points set aside for a mobile phone-related traffic offence, claimed Fine Gael Wicklow TD Andrew Doyle, Fianna Fáil Longford-Westmeath TD Robert Troy and Roscommon Labour Senator John Kelly had points quashed.
Mr Flanagan had condemned the practice before it emerged that he had had points quashed following an appeal in writing. But he called in the Dáil yesterday for a “serious and independent investigation”. He was speaking in advance of the formal publication of the report on the investigation into allegations that penalty points for prominent personalities had been set aside.
The Roscommon-South Leitrim TD said “we have concrete evidence of these practices from within the Houses of the Oireachtas. Unfortunately I am guilty but I admitted that. Will people like Deputy Andrew Doyle and Robert Troy now come forward? Perhaps Senator Kelly might also come forward.” Mr Flanagan was ruled out of order and accused of abusing Dáil privilege.
Last month Mr Doyle spoke publicly about penalty points he had received in 2009 for speeding being allocated to his wife’s driving licence through an administrative error.
The issue was raised yesterday by Independent TD Mick Wallace during transport questions on Dublin Bus services.
He said he had written to Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar a month ago and had not received a reply and he asked if there was Ministerial concern “that whistleblowers were not interviewed even once by the people investigating the issue” of penalty points.
United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly said valid questions on the issue had been submitted but were disqualified. Calling on Mr Varadkar to comment on the report she said “he has no problem talking to RTÉ but he cannot answer a question here”.
The Minister said he had no difficulty in reiterating his comments. He said the report “gives me confidence that the penalty point system has integrity. It has been hugely successful in terms of freeing up Garda time and changing Garda behaviour.
“The report found that a small number of gardaí may not have used their discretionary powers appropriately but that is a matter for the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner.”
Repeatedly pressed by Opposition TDs for his views on the issue Mr Varadkar said “it is not appropriate for me to speak about Garda matters”.
The issue was raised later during a question on the merger of Shannon airport and Shannon Development. Ms Daly accused the Minister of disallowing questions validly submitted on the investigation in to the quashing of penalty points.
Mr Varadkar said he had not power to allow or disallow questions, which was a matter for the Ceann Comhairle. He added that he hoped Ms Daly with a full-time job as a politician “is not receiving remuneration from Aer Lingus, holding a post open or using the car park or other privileges”.