TD admits penalty points were wiped

Embattled TD Luke Ming Flanagan has admitted that four penalty points were wiped or kept from his driving record by gardaí due to his position as an elected representative.

The Roscommon TD alleged there was a “cosy” system involving gardaí and important people, including himself, where people did not have to go to court.

The TD, who has called some members of the force “corrupt”, last night said he was trying to put the points back on his record.

Mr Flanagan claimed he had intended at a later date to reveal publicly that he had penalty points cancelled but that the story emerged in reports last weekend.

He said he was caught driving while on his phone travelling to Leinster House in Jun 2011.

“I had been using my phone and the garda in question told me that I would be receiving a fine.

“I distinctly remember thanking the garda in question for doing his job well and that maybe his actions might in fact extend my life.”

He said he had later “bumped into” the sergeant in question who had told him he was “covered” and insisted he write to him to have the points expunged.

Mr Flanagan then detailed a second occasion where he was let off a similar offence. This occurred while he was driving to a local meeting in Dec 2011, he said. He was stopped by a garda and told he would get two points for driving while on his phone, the standard penalty.

He said he mentioned the incident with the garda at the meeting and later received a phonecall from a senior county council official who told him the issue had been “sorted out”.

“To this day, I have neither received penalty points or a fine. Whatever about the case whereby the points were removed on the grounds of travelling to the Dáil, there is in fact no case for what happened in this situation.”

Mr Flanagan said he had intended speaking about his cancelled or prevented penalties in the coming days when findings from a Garda probe into the expunging of penalty points are released.

He said TDs were discussing legislation on spent convictions in the Dáil last night when “important people like me — I am one of them now — do not even have to go to the court in the first place”.

“If justice is to work, it must be seen to be above favour. Our system is not. Corruption is like rust. It starts out small and cannot be seen, but if it is not kept in check, it corrodes everything. This is what is happening in the Garda Síochána.”

The TD also said he had contacted the fines office in Co Clare to ask how he can go about getting the fines and points imposed on him. He also called on other Oireachtas members who had points cancelled to come forward.

A number of TDs last night told the Dáil they had not had points wiped from their records, including Fianna Fáil’s Dara Calleary and Fine Gael’s John O’Mahony


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