TWO judges, a leading rugby player and a television presenter were among those who had penalty points illegally written off, a garda whistleblower has alleged.
Officials at the Department of Justice are examining the claims after a serving officer came forward with claims that colleagues illegally wrote off the points for a number of prominent people.
The garda sergeant compiled a dossier of printouts from the garda PULSE system relating to 50,000 cases where penalty points were quashed by gardai.
Among those who had their points dropped were several "pillars of society" including:
* At least two members of the judiciary.
* An international rugby player.
* An RTE television presenter.
* And a number of serving and former gardai.
It is unclear whether these people sought to have their points quashed or if a garda wrote them off on their own initiative.
In at least nine cases highlighted in the dossier, a motorist who had their points quashed went on to be involved in a fatal road-traffic accident.
The probe was first revealed by the Irish Independent yesterday, but now fresh allegations have emerged from all over the country.
A source told the Irish Independent: "What the material suggests is that this is a cultural issue within the force – something that has become custom and practice over the years, but is only now coming to light."
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has already instigated an investigation into the conduct of one garda superintendent as a result of information brought forward by the whistleblower.
This superintendent has not been suspended and is continuing their normal duties.
It is unclear at this stage whether the probe, being conducted by Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony, will be widened to look at the alleged behaviour of other officers.
A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the Department of Justice was "reviewing" the allegations.
"The Minister is awaiting a report from the Garda Commissioner on the matter and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point," the spokeswoman said.
Garda superintendents have the power to adjudicate on and cancel penalty points if it is shown they were issued in error, or if there are extenuating circumstances involved, such as a medical emergency. They can intervene if written to by a motorist who wishes to appeal the points levied against them.
The whistleblower has claimed he previously tried to bring his concerns to the attention of more senior officers, but was rebuffed.