McCabe to hand over Pulse files to GSOC

Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe is expected to hand over documentation on up to 3,000 terminated penalty-point cases when he is interviewed by the Garda Ombudsman next week.

McCabe to hand over Pulse files to GSOC

It will be the first meeting between the officer and the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) since the body was requested last January, by former justice minister Alan Shatter, to investigate the matter.

GSOC has told the Department of Justice it will be an “extensive” investigation and has requested €1m in funding to hire extra staff to enable it to conduct the inquiry. Discussions in relation to the request are thought to be continuing.

The Irish Examiner understands that voluminous files of Pulse records, numbering between 2,000 and 3,000 cases of cancelled penalty points, will be handed over to GSOC investigators. It is thought the cases involve repeat offenders — motorists who had penalty points cancelled on multiple occasions.

Sgt McCabe previously claimed the cancellations were wrongful and unlawful. The repeat terminations are said to represent a sample of purportedly hundreds of thousands of cancellations identified by the officer.

It is believed up to four days have been set aside for the meetings in Dublin, starting next Tuesday. Sgt McCabe will hand over the files and is expected to go through the cases in detail, explaining to investigators what the Pulse records mean and the examinations he carried out.

It will take the GSOC team a considerable period of time to conduct its own examination of individual cases. The next stage will be the lengthy process of interviewing the gardaí who issued the fines and those who cancelled them.

It is understood GSOC has already secured copies of files on penalty points held by the Public Accounts Committee, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), and the Garda Inspectorate.

The PAC was conducting an examination and met Sgt McCabe in private. Its hearings involved a disagreement with then Garda commissioner Martin Callinan over a sealed box of Pulse records provided by the sergeant. The dispute ended when Mr Shatter referred the issue to GSOC.

A C&AG report, published last September, said a “significant proportion” of terminations did not satisfy stated policy. It said rates in some districts were too high, amid concerns they were done without due cause.

In March, a Garda Inspectorate report found “consistent and wide- spread breaches” by gardaí of the termination system. Chief Inspector Bob Olson said the information provided by Sgt McCabe was “credible”, but he said they did not investigate individual allegations.

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