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Whistleblowers 'vindicated'

GARDA whistleblowers have been "vindicated" after a complete overhaul of the penalty points system, Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins said.

A damning report on the wiping of penalty points for thousands of motorists could lead to a change of the system and a tightening of the rules around the cancellation of points.

The penalty points report by the garda watchdog is highly critical of the way the penalty points system operated.

Legislation

Local gardai should not have the power to wipe points off a record, instead, the report says the power to cancel penalty points should be centralised.

New legislation will also close a loophole around the application of fines and points to the drivers of company cars and rental cars.

Changes to the way penalty points are cancelled for on-duty gardaĆ­ will also be introduced.

The Garda Inspectorate report is believed to point to major administrative dysfunction when it comes to penalty points.

Today the Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins said the recommendations by the Garda Inspectorate "vindicate" the garda whistleblowers Maurice McCabe and John Wilson.

"That brings right back to centre stage the question as to why Minister Shatter chose to undermine Sgt Maurice McCabe in Dail Eireann.

"I would be renewing my call on Minister Shatter to apologise to Maurice McCabe," he said.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan issued a statement to say that: "in the overwhelming number of cases the report found no problem with the processing of penalty points."

The report outlines that the right to withdraw fixed charge penalty notice should be transferred to the Fixed Charge Processing Office in Co Tipperary.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter will bring the report to Cabinet today and is expected to advise the recommendations be accepted in full.

Roadmap

Mr Shatter said there would be changes to road traffic legislation on foot of the report.

"The Inspectorate, in its recommendations, provides a roadmap to address the difficulties which have arisen and to ensure that An Garda Siochana will have a system which is transparent, fit for the 21st Century, and which will stand up to scrutiny," he said.

A source said Sgt McCabe has been extremely disheartened by the whole ordeal and would never go through it again if he had the choice.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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