Timeline of the Garda breath-test scandal events

As the controversy over the recording of breath tests rumbles on, the gardaí, Department of Justice, and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS), each outlined the timeline of events:

April 11, 2014

Then-transport minister Leo Varadkar wrote to the Garda commissioner after anonymous correspondence is received by then-chairman of the Road Safety Authority, Gay Byrne, containing allegations about mandatory alcohol test checkpoints in the west of Ireland.

April 24, 2014

The Western Region’s assistant commissioner submits a report in respect of road traffic enforcement.

May 12, 2014

Report regarding the issues raised is submitted to Department of Justice.

August 22, 2014

Correspondence received by Garda National Traffic Bureau from MBRS in relation to the purchasing of mouthpieces for the Drager (breath-testing) devices. Yesterday, MBRS director Denis Cusack said: “We wrote to [gardaí] in July 2014 but we did not know what we were dealing with at the time.”

January 8, 2015

Another report issued to the department, advising it was not possible to identify author of the initial correspondence and “in the absence of further information becoming available, it was not possible to progress matter”.

March 7, 2015

Assistant commissioner (traffic) issued instructions to all divisional and district officers to ensure mechanisms were put in place to monitor the operation of mandatory alcohol test checkpoints.

June 10, 2015

Department told an audit was underway.

July 20, 2015

Assistant commissioner (traffic) directed Garda National Traffic Bureau to chair a working group to examine the recording of equipment and data on PULSE.

August 2015

According to Prof Cusack, staff at MBRS carried out a survey of 200 of the 1,200 devices and found that instead of the approximately 400,000 tests recorded as having been performed, it was actually closer to 200,000. Gardaí were informed.

November 11, 2015

Report on audit of breath tests 2009-14 in southern region finds a discrepancy of 17% between the number recorded on PULSE and that recorded on devices.

June 2016

Gardaí indicate solutions had been put in place regarding issues detected.

March 10, 2017

MBRS provides information from its database to gardaí following an earlier request.

March 24

Gardaí reveal the extent of the over-recording of breath tests.

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