independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Even VIPs must take points and pay fines, says Ring

A GOVERNMENT minister has raised concerns about claims that senior gardai abused their powers to write off penalty points for motorists, including a sports star.

Junior transport minister Michael Ring said anyone receiving penalty points should pay the fine and receive the points regardless of what position they held in society.

"The law of the land is the law of the land. If you get penalty points you have to pay the same as anybody else," he said.

His comments came after independent TD Clare Daly claimed she planned to use Dail privilege this week to name public officials and celebrities who had points allegedly erased from their driving record.

She told a Sunday newspaper she would use "every means possible" to name those involved as the issue was of national importance. "I will be naming names," she said.

Whistleblower

The issue came to light after a whistleblower sent a detailed dossier of examples to the Department of Transport, which was then passed on to Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and the Department of Justice.

Gardai at superintendent rank and above can delete points if they are satisfied the motorist committed the offence for a good reason, such as speeding to take a sick person to hospital.

They can intervene if written to by a motorist who wishes to appeal the points levied against them. The only other avenue of appeal is through the courts.

However, it is claimed that hundreds of offences have been discarded by officers stationed across the country.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony has been appointed to investigate the claims, and is due to report back in the coming months.

The whistleblower who provided the information appears to have downloaded details of tens of thousands of cases from the garda PULSE computer system.

The allegations were also made to the Road Safety Authority, which passed them on to the Garda Ombudsman Commission.

Irish Independent

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