Gardaí want penalty points exemption to cover patrol cars
Garda supervisors want special permits to cover them while driving official vehicles on duty.
They fear their private licences will be affected if they collect penalty points for road traffic offences committed when they are driving patrol cars.
Internal regulations are meant to ensure that gardaí are exempt from sanctions such as points for speeding, in special circumstances if they are on duty. But in the wake of last year's controversy over penalty points, some gardaí say it is no longer clear if that exemption will still be enforced, as it was in the past.
And the annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, which gets under way this afternoon in Trim, Co Meath, will hear that members are becoming increasingly concerned that their personal licences will be affected.
The conference is expected to approve a demand from the association's Westmeath branch, that its national executive call on Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan to introduce a special driving permit to safeguard them while on duty.
The Garda College has also put down a motion calling for changes to a directive issued by Garda Headquarters last year, which meant that driving training vehicles and motorcycles would no longer be exempt from any penalty point cancellation process while in official use.
Pay is dominating a large portion of the agenda and delegates will debate a proposal that their pay rates should be increased to 2008 levels, while some branches want an urban allowance for members who work in areas with populations in excess of 40,000 people.
The association will also send out a warning to the Government that the current intake of 300 recruits into the Garda College must be increased to prevent the continuing drop in the strength of the force.
Garda strength has now fallen substantially below what had previously been regarded as a bottom line figure of 13,000, because of retirements and resignations.