No culture of spiking points, says Garda boss

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has said there was no culture of spiking penalty points within the force.

He said it was “very unfair” to assert wrongdoing over the termination of penalty points until the full facts were established.

The police chief moved to make his first public statement on the matter following statements under Dáil privilege and in the media identifying high-profile individuals who got penalty points erased at the discretion of senior local officers.

They have lawful discretion to erase points if, for example, the motorist was speeding in a genuine emergency or on compassionate grounds.

It is thought that more than 10,000 terminations have been authorised for speeding offences in the last four years.

High-profile individuals who benefited are thought to include two judges, a GAA star, an RTÉ figure, a former Fine Gael TD, and a journalist.

One of the judges had points terminated on three occasions. Once, the judge drove at twice the legal speed limit — 101km/h in a 50km/h zone. The next day the car was clocked doing 90km/h at the same location.

Commissioner Martin Callinan said he had appointed Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney to conduct a comprehensive investigation.

Mr Callinan said the allegations made generally appear to be based solely on an examination of the Garda Pulse computer records.

“In other words, allegations of impropriety are made without it being clear how the person making them would have complete knowledge as to what led to decisions being taken in particular cases or being in a position to assess properly whether the decisions made were appropriate,” Mr Callinan said.

He added: “In those circumstances, it is very unfair both to members of the force and to the people who were the subject of the notices, to assert wrongdoing in the absence of a determination of the full facts.”


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