Thursday 24 May 2018

15 questions Oireachtas committee says the Garda chief must answer

Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has come under renewed pressure Picture: Damien Eagers
Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan has come under renewed pressure Picture: Damien Eagers Newsdesk Newsdesk

Garda Commissioner Noirín O'Sullivan has come under renewed pressure. Here are the 15 questions the Oireachteas committee says the Garda chief must answer.

1 Medical bureau

Why did the Garda not seek data from the Medical Bureau for either its southern or national audit in 2015 and 2016 (as it eventually did in February 2017) even though the Medical Bureau had informed the Garda in July 2014 of discrepancies identified in its data?

2 Pulse

The Garda said in its press statement of March 23, 2017, that: "The 2016 review was unable to reconcile the Pulse data and our paper-based breath-test data - primarily due to significant gaps in the manually recorded breath-test data." When did the Garda first become aware of this inability to reconcile the Pulse data and its paper-based breath-test data?

3 IT update

In its statement of March 23, the Garda stated that the IT system was upgraded in November 2016. In the timeline provided by the Garda in its statement to the Joint Committee, this upgrade was identified as taking place on December 4, 2016. When did the IT upgrade commence and when was it in place?

4 Contact

It appears from the statements made by the Garda to the Joint Committee that efforts were only made to secure data from the Medical Bureau some "days before" this data was received on February 24. When did the Garda first contact the Medical Bureau in February 2017 requesting the data it received from the bureau on February 24? How was this contact made?

5 Article

Did the publication or impending publication of an article in the 'Irish Times' on February 20, 2017, entitled 'Garda breath test figures fail to add up' have any influence on the decision of the Garda to contact the Medical Bureau?

6 Publication

Did the Garda intend to disclose publicly the results of the audits or inquiries into the discrepancies in the breath-test data prior to the publication of the 'Irish Times' article?

7 Press conference

What prompted the press conference held by the Garda Commissioner on March 23? Was it prompted by the leak of various issues pertaining to the number of breathalyser tests conducted?

8 Checkpoints

Following the letter of March 2016 in relation to mandatory alcohol checkpoints, the Garda investigation which took just four weeks found that there were no problems. How comprehensive was this review?

9 Procedure

What precisely is the procedure for the input, recording and publication of information and results of breathalyser tests?

Following the initial input of data into Garda databases, can the figures be retroactively altered? Who would have access to this data at the various stages in the process?

10 Knowledge

Why was the Justice Minister not aware of the issue with figures for breathalyser tests before the media? Why was the minister not informed in advance about the press conference on March 23? Why was information about the discrepancies in the figures not shared with the Policing Authority?

11 Disclosure

Can you provide full disclosure of any current audits or investigations that are ongoing into other systemic problems within the Garda? This should include any and all audits, even if they are only on a localised or regional level, or considered to be of minor significance.

12 Potential issues

Are there, within your knowledge, any other potential issues - similar to the discrepancies in relation to breath-testing figures - of which the Committee ought to be aware?

13 Audits

What methodology is used in audits and investigations, given the significant discrepancies in reported figures?

Can you provide a copy of the procedures followed for these audits?

Can you also provide a copy of reports of any and all such audits conducted in the last decade?

14 Data

Can the Commissioner confirm that no specific data exists for the years 2006-2011 in relation to figures for mandatory alcohol testing?

15 Accuracy

How does mandatory drug testing of motorists operate in practice? Is the Commissioner confident that figures for these are accurate?

Irish Independent

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