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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Gardai deny Go Safe vans are about ‘entrapment’

Questions on why and where vans are placed

Published 16/04/2014 | 12:00

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A 'Go Safe' speed camera van

GARDAI have denied Go Safe vans are involved in the "entrapment" of motorists as part of a revenue raising exercise.

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Assistant Commissioner John Twomey defended the use of privately run detection vans on roads which some motorists perceive to be safe.

Speaking at an Oireachtas Transport Committee meeting, Fine Gael TD Patrick Donovan asked Mr Twomey if vans are strategically placed in areas which are more likely to detect speeding motorists.

His party colleague, Paudie Coffey posed the same questioned but said some monitoring areas could be perceived as "entrapment".

Mr Twomey told the committee none of the revenue raised by Go Safe vans goes to Gardai but rather is given to the central exchequer.

He said detection zones were based on compliance rates in certain areas.

If detection levels drop then vans are moved to other locations but if speeding rates rise then the number of monitoring hours increases.

"We are simply about reducing road deaths," Mr Twomey said.

Go Safe vans provide more than 7,000 hours of monitoring in 727 zones across the country which are outlined on the Garda website.

The Go Safe consortium won a €80m contract to operate speed cameras and the company is raking €50,000 of profits every week.

Mr Twomey said detection vans reduced the number of fatalities in certain areas by more than 20 pc.

Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley asked about ticket issuing problems recently raised by Judge Patrick Durcan in Clare who struck out a number of charges based on a lack of evidence.

Judge Durcan adjourned all speeding offences relating to Go Safe detections and questioned the evidential basis of photographs taken by the vans.

Mr Twomey said the problems related to “process issues” which have been addressed.

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