Shatter: Wallace stopped for using phone in car

Justice Minister Alan Shatter claimed fellow TD Mick Wallace had been stopped for speaking on his mobile phone while driving but that the garda had used his discretion.

On Last night’s RTÉ Prime Time programme, the two were debating the Garda inquiry into the cancellation of penalty points and the use of discretion by officers in not imposing points in certain circumstances.

Mr Wallace was one of four TDs who had campaigned for an investigation after information was received from Garda whistleblowers that points had been cancelled.

During their debate last night, Mr Shatter made reference to an alleged incident in which Mr Wallace was stopped by gardaí for using his mobile phone while driving.

Mr Shatter said the garda had used his discretion on that occasion saying the garda advised the TD that penalty points could issue.

However, Mr Wallace said what Mr Shatter was claiming was “news to me”.

Host Pat Kenny tried to return to the issue during the interview asking Mr Wallace what his thoughts were on the minister being in possession of such information. Mr Wallace insisted he did not know what the minister was talking about.

Mr Shatter did not say how he had sourced the information.

Meanwhile, the country’s top garda has mounted a robust defence of an internal investigation into the controversial quashing of penalty points, in the face of criticism the report was a whitewash.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan also rejected complaints about the gardaí’s level of co-operation with a recent inquiry by the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission into the force’s handling of an informer.

Appearing at a meeting of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee, Mr Callinan — who had penalty points quashed himself in 2007 — stressed that an internal report published earlier this week had revealed no evidence of criminality or fraud in the quashing of penalty points.

However, he admitted that there was a “disturbing level” of allegations made about the issue. He was satisfied the report’s authors would have “left no stone unturned” in digging out criminality if it had existed.

He conceded to being unhappy with some of the report’s findings and insisted there was a need for a greater “tightening up” of existing procedures.

A Garda superintendent and two inspectors are facing disciplinary measures over their role in the termination of penalty points in 661 cases. The Garda commissioner revealed, after the meeting, that a file on the subject has been sent to the DPP in relation to a fourth member of the force.

He told the PAC that individuals who had made allegations about the quashing of penalty points did not have the same level of information available to them, compared to Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony who conducted the probe.

Mr Callinan defended having penalty points quashed himself, explaining that he was on urgent Garda business at the time.


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