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Gardai still quashed colleagues' points after probe set up

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Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe

Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe

The legislation is being brought forward by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

The legislation is being brought forward by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald

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Whistleblower Garda Sgt Maurice McCabe

GARDAI were still quashing their colleagues' penalty points two months ago, despite the establishment of a high profile investigation into the practice.

It has been revealed that the gardai at the centre of the scandal already had a track record of cancelling points, in all cases.

But this did not stop them continuing to do it despite an internal probe, which was set up in September, and the establishment of new guidelines for gardai on motoring offences by the Interim Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan.

Allegation

It is understood that the new allegations by a group of repeat offenders - to be revealed in an investigation by a Professional Standards Unit set up by Ms O'Sullivan - have shocked senior gardai.

The latest motoring ticket cancellations were discovered by the investigation team after they examined the garda IT system, Pulse, to trace a variety of motoring offences.

They began the probe following allegations by whistleblower Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe.

The standards team will recommend that a new unit is set up within the force to review motoring offences, in a report to be published shortly.

This will include tens of thousands of motoring offences that were shelved due to "postal errors", such as problems with addresses.

However, it is believed that many of these tickets could have been reissued to the offenders following a simple address check.

Crime reports

The tickets were sent to the garda central processing unit in Thurles, marked "undelivered", where they remained.

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In other cases, it was found that off-duty gardai were claiming exemptions from speeding offences because they said they were using their private cars as emergency vehicles.

In one case, a member of the gardai said they used their private car as an emergency vehicle to visit another member of the force who was ill.

Another accepted a garda colleague's excuse for a speeding offence.

However, the speeding had been independently detected by a robotic device.

The investigation of 600 sample cases of quashed points is set to be published within weeks.

It will be forwarded to the Interim Commissioner and Minister for Justice.

The minister is expected to pass the report to the Garda Ombudsman Commission for further investigation.

The review is expected to contain over 30 separate recommendations.

The setting up of a new unit to examine historic cases of quashed penalty points is a central recommendation of the document.

This unit will be based in Thurles or Dublin and staffed by gardai with access to Pulse.

The unit is expected to closely monitor the conduct of gardai who have had motoring offences cancelled on a number of occasions.


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