Irish News

Thursday 21 August 2014

Politicians warned on points expose

Published 20/12/2012 | 11:09

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Minister for Justice Alan Shatter branded as 'ill-considered' plans to expose evidence on people having penalty points struck out by gardai

Justice Minister Alan Shatter has warned four politicians to cancel plans to expose a dossier of evidence on people who have had penalty points struck out by gardai.

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Mr Shatter, who stated last week that there are 197 cases of fixed notices being struck out, accused the TDs of being judge, jury and executioner.

He said: "This ill-considered press conference should be cancelled. The deputies should resist the temptation to present themselves collectively as the accusers, investigators, judge, jury and hangmen and recognise their responsibility as legislators to respect the constitutional and human rights of others."

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has appointed an Assistant Commissioner, John O'Mahony, to examine accusations that 50,000 notices were struck out, including those incurred by high-profile figures.

Mr Shatter added: "They (TDs) should understand that, at the very least, those against whom allegations have been made are entitled to the same due process that is afforded to Deputy [Mick] Wallace in his dealings with the Revenue, the courts and his creditors."

Independent TD Mr Wallace was named as a tax defaulter after being found to have a 1.4 million euro VAT bill. Mr Wallace, Socialist Party TD Clare Daly, People Before Profit TD Joan Collins and Independent Luke 'Ming' Flanagan had planned to unveil a dossier of evidence on the controversy.

They have accused Mr Shatter and the Garda Commissioner of playing "fast and loose" with commitments given after the Morris Tribunal into garda corruption in Donegal and have called for an independent public inquiry.

Mr Shatter claimed that the scandal concerns only a small minority of the alleged 50,000. He said documentation being examined by the Commissioner's office contained 402 allegations, a number of duplications, and an actual total of 197.

Mr Shatter accused the four TDs of pre-empting the internal Garda inquiry and violating the privacy of private citizens. He said they were ignoring his statement last week that penalty points can be cancelled in legitimate circumstances. Mr Shatter said he is committed to asking the Garda Inspectorate to investigate if impropriety is identified.

He said: "Mick Wallace TD, the leader of this morning's Buswells Four, should be awarded Santa's Brass Neck Award 2012. In pursuit of personal publicity, ignoring due process and in a gross abuse of their positions, Deputies Wallace, Daly, Collins and Ming Flanagan are proposing to out and publicly shame and defame individuals for alleged illegality who may have done no wrong."

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