No culprits named in penalty points file

A Garda report into the practice of quashing penalty points will be published today but will not identify drivers who have had fines cancelled or gardaí who were involved in the process.

The long-awaited inquiry into the practice of wiping penalty points was discussed by the Cabinet yesterday and comes after previous claims that thousands of drivers had fines quashed.

Alan Shatter, the justice minister, yesterday briefed fellow ministers on the inquiry, which is expected to recommend a tightening of the system of canceling points for drivers.

Last year, opposition TDs claimed, following tip-offs from gardaí, that there was widespread corruption by members of the force in wiping points on request without genuine reason.

Mr Shatter previously said that fewer than 300 claims of inappropriately cancelled penalty points were being examined, while others points were dropped due to medical emergencies or vehicles being mistakenly identified.

Mr Shatter also said indications from an interim garda report into claims of cancelled fixed notice charges indicate they related to ordinary individuals and not VIPs, as has been claimed. Some of the cancelled penalty points related to women in labour or children being rushed to hospitals and not actually to matters such as speeding, Mr Shatter told the Dáil.

Legal problems concerning the identity of people investigated and being named have delayed the report’s release until now. Disciplinary procedures against gardaí for inappropriately canceling penalty points are still being examined.

A Department of Justice spokeswoman said last night that the report had been “anonymised” when received by Mr Shatter.

There will be no press conference today and the report will not include names. Both Mr Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan are expected to make statements following the inquiry’s release.

Controversy has surrounded some Oireachtas members who have admitted having their points wiped.

Independent Roscommon TD Luke “Ming” Flanagan has admitted that gardaí wiped two penalty points from his license after he was caught using his phone behind the wheel.

Fianna Fáil Louth TD Seamus Kirk also previously said that he could not rule out his office having sought to have points cancelled from a speeding offence incurred several years ago.


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