Gardai should have the power to use their discretion when dealing with a minor offence, according to the chairman of the Garda Ombudsman Commission, Simon O'Brien.
Mr O'Brien said that where there was policing by consent, there had to be an element of discretion. He said it was part of the democratic process and must be there for police forces.
He was responding to a question about the use of garda discretion when dealing with minor road traffic offences at the launch of his commission's annual report.
He said the Ombudsman had not received any complaint in relation to the disclosure that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan had supplied information to Justice Minister Alan Shatter on discretion being applied to Independent TD Mick Wallace after he was stopped by a garda for using a mobile phone while driving.
Mr O'Brien pointed out that the commissioner was not amenable to the Ombudsman and added that any complaint would have to be dealt with elsewhere.