Bereaved families will no longer have to pay for crash reports

Gardaí say they will scrap fees for documents in cases where there has been a fatality

Bereaved families of road crash victims will no longer have to pay for accident reports from the start of next year, gardaí have announced.

Following a review carried out after representations to Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan, all fees will be scrapped from January 1st in cases where there has been a fatality.

The announcement has been welcomed by an organisation campaigning on behalf of families whose relatives have been killed on the roads.

Susan Gray, the chairperson of Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care on our Roads (Parc), said she was "absolutely delighted" that their eight-year campaign to end the fees had been successful.

At present, bereaved families have to pay €60 for the Garda abstract report on a crash and €40 for each witness statement.

In the case of the Donegal families who were left bereaved as a result of a crash which killed eight people on July 11th, 2010, there were 250 witness statements.

This would have meant each family would have had to pay €10,000 to procure copies of all of these documents from gardaí.

Ms Gray said the Donegal case was the “best example of just how cruel it was” to charge grieving families for documentation relating to crashes.

“These fees are unjust and insensitive.”

She thanked Ms O’Sullivan for implementing the changes following their lobbying campaign.

“We are grateful to the Garda Commissioner for the opportunity to meet with her and her senior officials recently along with the bereaved to explain the pain and difficulties that families have to journey through,” she said.

“We are grateful for her time and empathy and her decision to remove these fees. Parc is happy that the Commissioner has opted for a compassionate approach to this issue.

”We thank all those individuals who supported our campaign and stayed with us in our efforts through thick and thin over the past eight years.”

Charges

In 2014, relatives of crash victims were charged €778,000 in total for crash reports, up from €709,000 in 2013.

In a statement, An Garda Síochána said it will be waving all fees where there has been a road fatality.

In cases of collisions resulting in a serious injury, fees will be capped at a maximum cost of €1,000.

In the case of criminal proceedings or prior to an inquest, a form containing “appropriate information” on the crash will be supplied free of charge.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times

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