Report ignored bizarre points practices

The Garda report into allegations surrounding the termination of penalty points failed to highlight several serious issues that point to a more widespread culture.

An examination of Garda records of more than 100 cases shows that issues over repeat offenders, bizarre reasons for terminating points, or for no reason at all, and the role of gardaí, both in benefiting from and authorising the termination of points, were largely absent from the report.

The records will once again raise questions over whether an internal investigation of the gardaí on this matter was the most effective manner in which to deal with allegations about widespread malpractice.

The records seen by the Irish Examiner show cases in which motorists, both civilians and gardaí, with multiple detections for penalty points offences had all of them terminated. In some of these instances, no reason was provided at all for terminating the fixed-charge notice. Other reasons appear highly dubious.

The report by Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney and senior gardaí concluded that allegations about repeat offenders were largely unfounded, but the records seen show examples such as eight terminations for three family members in one case, and multiple terminations with no reason at all attached in others.

In one case, a motorist in the south-east had two notices cancelled with no reason at all, and a third cancelled for “speeding due to illness”.

The records also show a number of gardaí benefited from cancellation of the fixed charge notice on unusual grounds. In one case, a senior garda cancelled a notice for a member caught using a mobile phone on the basis: “Spoke with member concerned. Now satisfied he was not using phone.”

The O’Mahoney report found: “The overall findings of this examination would suggest that these allegations of widespread terminating for family and friends [of gardaí] are incorrect.”

Other records contain bizarre reasons for terminating notices. One contained the excuse “telephone call to hurry home”.

Another was granted because the motorist was “returning from funeral” at a speed of 150km/h at 4.30pm on the day in question.

The O’Mahoney report conducted an audit of 1% of terminations recorded over a three and a half year period.

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