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Monday 20 November 2017

TD names judge as a penalty points VIP in controversy

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

A JUDGE was named in the Dail for having allegedly benefited from the removal of penalty points from her driving licence.

Judge Mary Devins was identified by Clare Daly, despite warnings from the Ceann Comhairle that it could be "defamatory".

Several Independent and small party TDs – Ms Daly, Mick Wallace, Joan Collins and Luke 'Ming' Flanagan' – still tried to raise the issue.

It followed revelations in this newspaper that at least two judges, a leading rugby player and a television presenter were among those who had penalty points written off, according to a garda whistleblower.


Officials at the Department of Justice are examining the claims after a serving officer came forward with claims that colleagues wrote off the points for a number of prominent people.

The garda sergeant compiled a dossier of printouts from the garda PULSE system relating to 50,000 cases where penalty points were quashed by gardai.

Among those who had their points dropped were several "pillars of society". A number of serving and former gardai were also implicated.

It is unclear whether these people sought to have their points quashed or if a garda wrote them off on their own initiative.

Last night gardai refused to comment on fresh claims about the scale of the controversy. It was suggested there may be as many as 90,000 incidents of penalty points that were wiped since 2004.

Speaking in the Dail, Dublin North TD Ms Daly said: "Honest gardai are being victimised because they have uncovered the systematic abuse of motoring charges and terminations to those of some very powerful and influential people in the State, including members of the judiciary.

"Judge Devins has been named in the newspapers, as have sports figures and other officials, including gardai."

Judge Devins is a District Court judge in Mayo and is married to former Fianna Fail TD Jimmy Devins, who was elected to Sligo-North Leitrim in 2002.

Following newspaper reports that the TDs intended to raise the penalty points matter, Ceann Comhairle Sean Barrett wrote to some TDs warning there was a rule in the Dail on an "utterance in the nature of being defamatory".

Irish Independent

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