RETIRED gardai have attacked a claim by a whistleblower that revenue lost through cancelled speeding fines could have purchased 300 new patrol cars.
The group said the remark set a dangerous precedent and undermined the reason why penalty points had been introduced.
The Garda Siochana Retired Members Association, which represents 7,500 former gardai of all ranks, was responding to comments made by Sgt Maurice McCabe to a private meeting of the Dail Public Accounts Committee.
In an article, published today on its website, www.garda-post.com, it argued that penalty points, along with various traffic enforcement campaigns, were introduced to encourage responsible driving and not to generate revenue.
"It is not acceptable that this issue can be used to say that we have lost out on so many squad cars and garda equipment because of the revenue lost due to quashed penalty points.
"It has taken us a long time to reach the point we are at now as a nation, in respect of drinking and driving," said the group, adding that drink-driving was now "seriously frowned upon".
The retired members said the gardai must now try to achieve the same attitude adjustment on speeding and using a mobile phone while driving.
Claims about lost revenue undermined the authority of the penalty points system to achieve that adjustment, the group argued.
Drivers needed to have safety in their mindset when they started every journey, the group said.
The association acknowledged that there could be further revelations ahead that would not reflect well on the force.
However, it said that these must not come at the expense of measures that were fundamental to achieving public safety.