Penalty points whistleblower complains to standards body about Garda Commissioner

Complaint lodged on eve of no confidence motion in Minister for Justice

The complaint comes on the eve of a Dáil debate on a motion of no confidence in Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

The complaint comes on the eve of a Dáil debate on a motion of no confidence in Minister for Justice Alan Shatter

 


One of two Garda whistleblowers who made allegations of corruption concerning penalty-point cancellations has complained to the State’s ethics watchdog about the Garda Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner.

In a documents lodged with the Standards in Public Office Commission, the whistleblower is understood to complain that his allegations were described as “anonymous” when he argues they were, in fact, given in confidence.

The complaint comes on the eve of a Dáil debate on a motion of no confidence in Minister for Justice Alan Shatter which begins this evening and continues tomorrow.

The political row on Garda discretion in relation to traffic-related incidents, which prompted Fianna Fáil to put down the no-confidence motion, began shortly after the publication two weeks ago of the penalty points report.


Inspectors disciplined
The report dismissed allegations of widespread corruption in the Garda over the cancellation of thousands of penalty points, but led to a superintendent and two inspectors being disciplined after they were found to have terminated points in 661 cases.

Mr Shatter disclosed details of a minor “ticking off” of Independent Mick Wallace by gardaí for using a mobile phone while driving last year. It later emerged Mr Shatter had made an unsuccessful attempt to complete a breathalyser test when he was stopped at a Garda checkpoint some four years ago.

Mr Shatter is being robustly defended by Cabinet colleagues within the Coalition. Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton of Labour backed Mr Shatter: “I certainly will be voting confidence in the Minister . . . he has been a very hard-working Minister, I think, as everybody knows and accepts and acknowledges.”


‘Distraction’
Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton of Fine Gael said he thought the episode was a “distraction” when more pressing matters were causing concern for people.

“The reality is that Alan Shatter . . . apologised for what happened . . . The country has a lot of other concerns . . . this is a distraction,” he said.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary-Lou McDonald made clear her party would support the Fianna Fáil motion.

“We believe that he has lost the confidence of the Garda Síochána. We believe that he has misused his position as Minister for Justice.”