PAC to keep box of penalty point files

Martin Callinan

The Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) will not be handing over a “box of evidence” alleging widespread abuse of the penalty points system, as demanded by the Garda commissioner.

Members of the committee held a meeting last night with Oireachtas legal advisers who are considering how they should deal with the evidence provided by a Garda whistleblower.

The committee was advised it would have limited use for the information and could only look at if, or how, the State was losing money as a result of alleged abuse of the system, and not the personal information.

Martin Callinan, the Garda commissioner, wrote to PAC chairman John McGuinness last week, after the Irish Examiner reported it had received a volume of documentation which could shine a light on millions of euro being lost to the State by a failure to properly implement the system.

“These files, containing personal data, are files which I am responsible for and accordingly should be returned forthwith to me,” he wrote.

PAC decided not to look at the contents of the box until it received legal advice.

During last night’s meeting PAC members identified two options, which they have asked the legal advisers to go away and consider.

One was circulating a redacted version of the documents to the committee, which would black out individual names or personal information. The other was that PAC should examine the contents un-redacted and decide what use they had for them, if at all.

One source said despite a difference in opinion on how to deal with the information, “nobody feels too much pressure from the commissioner at all”.

There was a view that “he is certainly not getting the stuff back”, the source said.


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