Fiachra Ó Cionnaith and Juno McEnroe
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has been urged to open up a fresh investigation in the garda penalty points crisis, after Dáil claims officers are still having points illegally wiped out 18 months after the scandal emerged.
Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Padraig MacLochlainn made the claim during the Policing Authority Bill debate tonight, saying a garda superintendent and others are using a rarely stated rule to cancel points on their private cars.
Speaking under Dáil privilege, the TD said garda members have told him that under an existing "statutory exemption emergency vehicles" rule, gardaí can have penalty points wiped from their work and personal cars.
The rule is limited to officers chasing suspects.
However, Mr MacLochlainn said dubious cases have been wiped out as recently as this summer, saying Ms Fitzgerald must "ask the garda inspectorate to immediately review all penalty points removed this year under this exemption".
Ms Fitzgerald tonight told Mr MacLochlainn "if you have evidence somebody is abusing the system I would like that evidence".
However, the Sinn Fein TD told the Irish Examiner he will only hand over the documentation to the Garda inspectorate if an investigation is formally launched.
The garda penalty points scandal led to a political crisis in 2014 which saw the eventual resignation of justice minister Alan Shatter and controversial retirement of ex-garda commissioner Martin Callinan.
After three Government-backed investigations, it was claimed this year root and branch reforms mean the issues have been resolved.