Donohoe supportive of gardaí getting drivers’ PPS numbers

Proposal aimed at helping gardaí identify drivers

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe has indicated he would welcome a move to allow gardaí to have access to PPS numbers to enforce penalty points.

The proposal, aimed at helping gardaí identify offending drivers, has been considered by a Government taskforce set up in the aftermath of the penalty points controversy over certain gardaí cancelling penalty points for some drivers.

The Criminal Justice Working Group is due to make recommendations to Government shortly.

Mr Donohoe, speaking in Dublin on Monday, confirmed the proposal to allow gardaí access to motorists’ PPS numbers for the first time was being evaluated.

“That is a proposal that has been made that is being evaluated at the moment. The objective of that proposal is to look at ways of furthering compliance with our penalty point system and making sure that charges that are affixed to people are affixed to the right person and then they’re paid,” he said.

“I’m very supportive of looking at additional ways in which we can make that happen, but as I said we’re just in these stages of evaluating that particular proposal.”

Mr Donohoe was speaking at the launch of a new tourism initiative by private coach operator, JJ Kavanagh & Sons, which aims to support rural tourism and promote the company’s services.

PPS numbers come under the remit of Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton’s department. A spokeswoman for the department said “comments in the media” had been noted. “However, the department has not received any proposal on this,” she added.

The Criminal Justice Working Group, which first met in March 2014, is tasked with overseeing the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate’s review of the fixed charge processing system.

The group includes representatives of the Department of Justice and the Department of Transport, the Garda Síochána, the Courts Service and the Road Safety Authority.

It was asked to identify measures necessary to ensure that all penalty points are applied to driving licences; examine options for the online payment of fixed charge fines and consider alternative measures for collecting unpaid fixed charge fines.

The group was also asked to consider how legislative proposals could address difficulties in collecting fines and applying penalty points in respect of company, rental and unregistered vehicles.

The penalty point controversy broke in December 2012 when Clare Daly, Mick Wallace and other Independent TDs called for an independent inquiry into allegations that thousands of fines and penalty points issued to motorists had been cancelled.