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Saturday 23 September 2017

Mid-ranking gardai outraged over request to 'amend' checkpoint figures

Garda armed support unit Stock picture
Garda armed support unit Stock picture
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

Mid-ranking Gardaí have demanded an explanation after members were allegedly asked to amend recorded checkpoint figures from six years ago.

A mail, sent to all members of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) and seen by Independent.ie, reveals that members were contacted by the Garda Information Services Centre in recent days with a list of checkpoint incidents to be changed.

The confidential correspondence was written by AGSI general secretary John Jacob and sent to sergeants and inspectors on Friday afternoon. It comes after it was revealed last month that more than one million phantom breath tests were logged by Gardaí.

It also emerged that 14,700 people were prosecuted in court without a fixed charge notice being issued.

Mr Jacob wrote that his organisation had become aware that "members of AGSI have received correspondence from GISC [Garda Information Services Centre] with a list of MAT [Mandatory Alcohol Test] checkpoint incidents from 2011 and requesting they be amended."

He said there was confusion about this: "AGSI do not understand why our members are being asked to amend these records and we are contacting Garda management to get an understanding of the rationale for this instruction."

Mr Jacob went on to advise members that they should not obey the request at this time.

"Until there is a clear explanation as to why these records are to be amended, you are not in a position to change these records.

"We will request Garda management to issue an instruction clarifying why this is necessary and asking them to provide clear guidelines on what changes should be made."

The request is being taken very seriously by the AGSI and an emergency special meeting of the executive board of the organisation has been called for Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the AGSI said they were unable to comment on the email.

The controversy surrounding the phantom breath tests and wrongful convictions has led to calls for Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan to step aside.

A request has been sent to the Garda press office for comment.

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