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Philip Ryan: Detailed file leaves garda credibility in shreds

n A motorist involved in a hit and run, killing a pedestrian, previously had a 135km/100km speeding offence terminated by a garda inspector.

A man who lost control of his vehicle and killed his female passenger previously had 120km speeding ticket terminated.

• A man was killed driving his car. Six months earlier he had a case of driving without reasonable consideration quashed by a garda inspector.

• A 19-year-old girl was killed in traffic accident, she had a speeding ticket quashed by a garda inspector one month earlier.

• A woman was involved in a head-on collision killing another motorist. Three months earlier she had a speed detection 155km/100km zone terminated by a garda superintendent. Family members of the deceased were not informed of this.

• A man was involved in a fatal accident when he killed another driver. He was later arrested for killing the motorist. Two months earlier he had a case terminated by a garda inspector for driving up a one-way street the wrong way.

• The driver of a vehicle that knocked down and killed a pedestrian had a speeding detection quashed six months later by a garda inspector stating "child sick in rear of car on way to local doctor".

THE Sunday Independent can today exclusively reveal in unprecedented detail the allegations of quashed penalty points contained in a controversial dossier compiled by a garda whistleblower.

The explosive report highlights a litany of questionable terminations and puts the spotlight on Justice Minister Alan Shatter and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, who have both sought to play down the findings since they received the document last year.

Allegations of "falsification" and "destruction" of garda records are documented along with claims that senior officers are wiping the slate clean for their colleagues, friends and family following road traffic offences.

Some of the more serious questions raised in a redacted version of the report obtained by this newspaper centre on motorists who had penalty points terminated and went on to be involved in serious road accidents.

The dossier alleges that 200 motoring offences detected during an August bank holiday weekend in 2011 were terminated by "senior gardai for off-duty gardai and their family and friends".

Gardai also claimed to have received penalty points while on duty but claim forms suggest they were not working, according to the report.

With the thousands of cancellations come the bizarre reasons entered into official garda records by officers signing them off.

The reasons for breaking speed limits include "delivering clothes to Saint Vincent de Paul", "returning home from a funeral" and "late for an appointment with priest".

At present, Justice Minister Shatter is still awaiting clarification on certain aspects of the internal inquiry before he decides to publish the finished report.

Four senior officers, including superintendents and inspectors, are now believed to be facing discipline following the investigation. The whistleblower is believed to have documentary evidence to validate his claims, which he offered to both senior gardai and Government officials investigating the allegations.

However, he was not interviewed as part of Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahoney's review and since its completion has written to Taoiseach Enda Kenny asking why he was not consulted. He has not received a response.

The dossier was first sent to the Taoiseach and the Justice Minister in February last year, after the whistleblower felt he did not receive an adequate response from his superiors in Garda headquarters.

Since the allegations became public knowledge, the garda sergeant and a rank-and-file officer who supported his colleague's claims were forced to take stress-related sick leave from the force and the garda, who retired on Wednesday, has gone public for the first time today.

The dossier contains the following allegations:

• Motorist involved in 'hit and run', killing a pedestrian. The driver previously had a 135km/100km speeding offence terminated by a garda inspector.

• X lost control of his vehicle and killed his female passenger. He previously had a 120km speeding ticket terminated.

• X killed driving his car. Six months earlier he had a case of driving without reasonable consideration quashed by a garda inspector.

• X, aged 19, was killed in traffic accident; she had a speeding ticket quashed by a garda inspector one month earlier.

• X involved in a head-on collision, killing another motorist. Three months earlier she had a speed detection 155km/100km zone terminated by a garda superintendent. Family members of the deceased not informed.

• X involved in an accident where he killed another driver. He was later arrested for killing motorist. Two months earlier he had a case terminated by a garda inspector for driving the wrong way up a one-way street.

• X, the driver of a vehicle that knocked down and killed a pedestrian, had a speeding detection quashed six months later by a garda inspector, stating "child sick in rear of car on way to a local doctor".

• Garda officers putting undue pressure on gardai and sergeants to quash tickets.

•  Garda stationed in a rural area terminated two tickets for the wives of two members of his staff who were caught speeding and terminated a speeding detection for an ex-garda superintendent.

• Lady detected four times in eight months, loss of €320 and eight penalty points, falsification of Pulse records to deceive.

• One motorist detected eight times in 12 months, all terminated, with loss of €640 and 16 penalty points.

• Garda terminating hundreds of tickets in a southern county with "issued in error", "garda seeks cancellation", "facts disputed invalid issue, garda agrees".

•; Hundreds of off-duty gardai detected several times speeding in their own cars, tickets terminated and Pulse records falsified by garda inspector and garda superintendents stating member on duty/operation reasons. Subsequent overtime forms indicated that some members were not on duty.

• More than 1,000 speeds of 200kph, 190kph, 180kph, 170kph, 160kph, 150kph and 140kph quashed by senior garda management for friends and family members. Details erased and blanked out to hide the identity of the officers who terminated them.

• Garda officers stationed in the traffic department in Dublin have terminated tickets for excessive speeds, phone, careless driving, breaking red lights etc for their work colleagues, friends and relations.

• Prosecution solicitor caught speeding, ticket terminated by an inspector stating "Sol en route to court with pros files. Urgent case." The day in question was a Saturday.

• Senior prison officer caught speeding. Terminated with the excuse – "intruder at home". No Pulse records for this intrusion.

• X caught speeding in Dublin. Ticket terminated stating he was a member on duty. He is not a member. His wife is a senior officer and his ticket was then destructed by her colleague.

• A garda inspector quashed 85 speeding tickets and mobile phone tickets using the same excuse for terminating them – "medical emergency".

The dossier contains hundreds of other instances of penalty points and other offences being written off for members of the Garda Siochana, friends, relatives and prominent figures.

It presents huge credibility issues for a range of senior garda officers who have destroyed official garda records, made false entries, or made entries to deceive, all of which has led to the loss of several million euro of public monies.

It is understood that Transport Minister Leo Varadkar was "disturbed by the scale of the problem" when he was presented with the details of the dossier. The minister is believed to have welcomed the garda investigation and as things stand he expects a thorough investigation.

A Justice Department spokesman said the minister had received the report from the Garda Commissioner on March 28 and it "is currently under consideration".

He added: "Clarification was sought from the Attorney-General and from the Data Protection Commissioner on issues relating to the publication of the findings of the report and discussions are ongoing. Following consideration of the clarifications, the minister intends to bring the report to Cabinet at the earliest opportunity and publish the findings thereafter."

The Justice Department said it would not be appropriate to comment on whether the whistleblower was interviewed or consulted as it was part of a garda investigation.

The garda press office said: "The material/dossier compiled and furnished was done so anonymously."

Irish Independent