Penalty point abuse and fake breath tests seriously undermine public confidence in gardaí

December 1, 2017

It is entirely unacceptable that no senior Garda management are to be held to account for the widespread abuse of the penalty point system and the falsification of breath tests, Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall TD has said.

Deputy Shortall’s comments follow the publication today of a GSOC report which found superintendents and inspectors breached policy by wiping penalty points and fines for driving offences outside of their geographical areas.

Deputy Shortall said:

“It is disappointing and simply not acceptable that absolutely no one in senior Garda management is to be held accountable for the fact that hundreds of officers wiped fines and penalty points for friends and relatives.

“Last week we heard from the acting Garda Commissioner that senior Garda management are not to be disciplined for the falsification of some 1.9 million breath tests.  And today we learn that GSOC will not investigate individual officers for potential criminality or disciplinary issues because the cost would outweigh the benefits.

“What about the costs in terms of the complete shattering of public trust in An Garda Síochána? How are people to have confidence in the force when they see for the second time in just over a week that even the most senior members are apparently themselves above the law?

“Surely a case can be made for at the very least disciplinary consequences for senior management, including chief superintendents, superintendents, inspectors and divisional commanders.

“How can we have confidence in efforts at serious Garda reform from the top down when these toxic legacy issues are simply not addressed beyond the issuing of another report? This can only have a harmful impact on State’s road safety strategies as well as public attitudes to drink driving in the upcoming festive season.”

ENDS

1 December 2017