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Saturday 30 August 2014

Penalty points report 'ignored'

Shane Phelan

Published 20/06/2014 | 02:30

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A FORMER senior garda claims the Department of Justice "totally ignored" a damning report he compiled on the penalty points system six years ago.

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John O'Brien, a former detective chief superintendent and ex-head of the Garda National Traffic Policy Bureau, was commissioned to write the report by the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) in 2008.

He told the Dail's spending watchdog that his report was forwarded by GSOC to the then justice minister Dermot Ahern the following year, but never acted upon.

"Frankly, that report never saw the light of day," Mr O'Brien told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Criticism

The revelation implicates the previous Government in the penalty points debacle for the first time. Until now, criticism has mainly centred on the recently departed justice minister Alan Shatter, and ex-garda commissioner Martin Callinan.

Mr O'Brien's report contained 18 recommendations aimed at shoring up the system.

He concluded it was "only designed to catch and deal with the compliant" and was "inherently unfair".

However, these observations and recommendations were not acted upon. "It was totally ignored," he said.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to his comments last night.

The former senior garda said the penalty points system was fundamentally flawed as "the worst offenders get away with it".

Irish Independent

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