Judge hits out at speed camera operators
A JUDGE has described as "a complete waste of public money" personnel from safety camera network operators, Go Safe, coming to court and failing to prosecute alleged speeding motorists "for one bad reason after another".
At Kilrush District Court, in Co Clare, Judge Patrick Durcan lambasted the private firm saying the country "can't afford" the matters which keep coming before him.
Judge Durcan made his comments after four Go Safe connected prosecutions failed yesterday, with the judge dismissing two and striking out the remaining two.
The judge also expressed his concern over recent remarks made by the head of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), Gay Byrne, on how the courts were dealing with speeding motorists.
Not naming Mr Byrne, Judge Durcan said that at the same time, you have the head of the RSA "making comments about the courts and the way these matters are dealt with and about the inadequacies (of) fines and penalties".
"It puts the courts and the judiciary in a most difficult situation when matters, as I say, are so appallingly presented in court on these matters," he said.
In court, Judge Durcan said that the organisation dealing with speeding offences "seems to be going from one disaster to another".
The Go Safe consortium secured the €80m Garda Siochana contract to operate the network of speed camera vans in 2009 and the consortium's most recent accounts show that it was recording operating profits of almost €50,000 per week in 2012.
The consortium recently placed the scale of its profits beyond public scrutiny by going unlimited, removing the requirement to file annual accounts.
The Go Safe cameras operate on sections of road which have a history of collisions occurring, and where speed was a contributory factor.
The areas where they are operating are available on the Garda website.
The Go Safe-connected prosecutions in court appear on the court list under Insp John McDonald, who is responsible for the fixed charge processing unit in Thurles.
"The gardai come in and do their job perfectly in relation to those matters and you have this quango, this private company retained to prosecute these matters and one after one after one – their prosecutions seem to fall for one bad reason after another," the judge said.