Tuesday 12 December 2017

RSA calls for independent investigation into penalty points row

Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

THE Road Safety Authority (RSA) has recommended that an independent investigation be launched into the penalty points controversy.

The RSA confirmed that it has sent a report to the Department of Transport on the controversy, following publication of a garda probe which found no evidence of corruption in relation to penalty points being wiped from people's licences.

RSA chairman Gay Byrne said the board was "unhappy" with the findings of the internal review overseen by Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, and had written to the Department of Transport recommending an independent investigation.

"The report raised more questions than were answered and a further outside review would be more than helpful to everybody," Mr Byrne said.

"We would welcome the opportunity to have the report examined by another investigation. We recommended the Comptroller and Auditor General or the Garda Ombudsman should undertake a review."

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed he met with the garda whistleblower at the centre of the penalty points controversy.

Mr Varadkar held a meeting with the former garda in recent weeks and found him to be "credible", a spokesman said.

Disciplinary procedures have begun against three gardai over the cancellation of penalty points. It followed a whistleblower in the force contacting the Departments of Transport and Justice amid concerns that some motorists were escaping points, despite breaking the law.

Sources said the RSA raised a number of concerns about the findings of the report, including the fact that retired gardai who had cancelled points were not interviewed as part of the investigation.

The meeting between Mr Varadkar and the whistleblower will put further pressure on the Government to hold an independent inquiry into allegations of the improper cancellation of points.

ALLEGATIONS

The meeting could also lead to cabinet tensions as this is the first time a member of the Government has agreed to meet with the midlands-based officer to discuss his allegations of malpractice in the force.

A well-placed source said the whistleblower found the meeting with Mr Vardakar "excellent" and was pleased a member of the Government was willing to listen to his complaints.

Last week, it was revealed the whistleblower wrote to Taoiseach Enda Kenny dismissing the findings of the garda report and requesting a meeting with the Fine Gael leader.

"I invite you to meet with me and to see the evidence for yourself," he wrote in an email.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News