Tag Archives: Penalty Points


This morning.

The launch by Transport Minister Paschal Donohue of Ireland’s first ‘automated Red Light Camera System’ at the junction of Blackhall Place, Dublin on the Red Luas Line this afternoon,

Scene of many a  prang.

Motorists breaking the set of red lights pictured will automatically receive three penalty points on their licence.

They will be automatically wiped should you be the Garda Commissioner, newspaper editor, etc.

Sound reasoning or traffic fascism?

You must decide.

(Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

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From top: RTÉ penalty points graphic and a screengrab from the Garda Professional Standards Unit’s report published yesterday

You’ll recall how Sgt Maurice McCabe claimed last September that certain gardaí were continuing to cancel penalty points for colleagues, friends and relations, despite assurances from Garda management that the practice no longer took place, particularly since new regulations were introduced on June 16.

The new regulations meant just three senior gardaí could cancel penalty points.

After Sgt McCabe’s claims were reported in The Sunday Times, the Garda Professional Standards Unit [GPSU] was ordered to carry out an investigation into the claims which led to a two-volume report.

Volume One of the report was published yesterday. Volume Two will not be published.

It shows that the GPSU examined 667 cancellation cases.

Of those 667 cases, 54 were quashed after June 16 – the date of change in legislation.

Of those 54, the GPSU says seven need further examination.

But overall, of the 667, the GPSU has concluded that 114 of them need further investigation – a fifth of which concern serving or retired gardai.

Sgt McCabe – though he wasn’t named in the report – he gave the GPSU details of 115 people who had points cancelled between January 1, 2009 to November  1, 2014.

This list included details of 31 serving or retired gardaí who had 289 cancellations. The GPSU requested access to files in relation to these cases between January 1, 2013 and November 1, 2014.

This yielded 239 case files. Of those 239 files, the GPSU did not receive 7 cancellation files. Details of these seven cancellations are in Volume Two of the report which has not been published.

In the report, the GPSU writes:

“GPSU examined these cancellations with information available from PULSE and FCPS [Fixed Charge Processing System] and have assessed them as ‘Further Investigation Required’. “

Last night, RTÉ One’s Prime Time political correspondent Katie Hannon highlighted how the report shows that, by comparing the the months of July and August 2013 with that of 2014, the GPSU shows that the number of penalty point cancellations dropped by 45.

However, as she shows in her graphic, the rate of cancellations actually rose from 3.78% to 3.95%.

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From the GPSU report

As for the reasons that penalty points were cancelled, the biggest reason was that the fixed charge notice went undelivered.

Comparing July and August of 2013 with that of 2014, the GPSU found this reason rose by 91.5%.

The ‘medical emergency’ reason dropped by 99.4%.

Yesterday, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald announced former president of the Circuit Court, Judge Matthew Deery will oversee the penalty points process in the future.

21 serving or retired gardai face further investigation over penalty points (Irish Examiner)

Read the report in full here

Watch Prime Time here

Screen-Shot-2014-05-20-at-09.44.521-1024x616Taoiseach Enda Kenny meets Sgt Maurice McCabe in Mullingar, Co Westmeath during the local and European elections last May

Further to revelations this morning by the Garda Professional Standards Unit (GPSU) of evidence of fresh penalty points quashing by gardai…

The GPSU’s investigation was carried out on the foot of claims last year by Sgt Maurice McCabe that some officers were continuing to cancel penalty points for colleagues, friends and relations.

Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness – chairman of the Public Accounts Committee – said at the time:

I am deeply concerned that Maurice will be targeted again. We need a guarantee that he will not be punished again in any way for trying to do his job and helping to improve our police force.”

Further to this, we understand (from an informed Garda source), Sgt McCabe has not been able to attend work for the last two weeks due apparently to “sustained pressure” as a result of his reporting of wrongdoing within the gardaí.

UPDATE: This (above crossed out) is incorrect. We are sorry.

Previously: Lest We Forget

The Thin Blue Timeline Updated

TD Daly claims to have new information on alleged Garda corruption (BreakingNews.ie)


No one can stop them.

They can’t stop themselves.

The garda report on the penalty points system has found six senior gardaí continued to cancel penalty points in breach of policy and outside their own areas despite directions from the commissioner that the practice was to cease.

RTÉ News has also learned the report identifies nine cases where senior officers cancelled points and seven more instances where points were cancelled on questionable grounds even after the Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan introduced new procedures last June.

Report shows continued breaches on penalty points (RTÉ)

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RTÉ crime correspondent Paul Reynolds on RTÉ’s Nine News last night

In light of Noirín O’Sullivan appointment as the new Garda Commissioner, last night Mr Reynolds reported the following:

“[Her appointment] has been broadly welcomed, there has been some criticism but Noirín O’Sullivan is the first Garda Commissioner in the history of the State to be appointed to the position, following and open, public competition and she got the position through, against national and international competition and that does give her some credibility as she takes up, begins the job first thing tomorrow morning.

She’s also dealing with the criticism, as you say, by distinctly saying that it’s an advantage, that she was an insider and that she was part of senior management in the force for so long because it does mean that she knows the members. She says she knows the organisation, she knows the problems, she can implement change and she also knows the community and what they expect from a policing service. And she was also appointed to the position, in spite of reports that the abuses are continuing in the penalty point system, in spite of the new system that she introduced last June.

And she said something very interesting in relation to that point, here at the press conference tonight. She said that she’s confident that when the audits are published very soon that they will show that the system she introduced is, in fact, working. And that’s at variance with many of the reports we’ve heard over the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, John Mooney reported in last weekend’s Sunday Times:

“An internal investigation by gardai into fresh allegations that senior officers continued to terminate penalty points in questionable circumstances is to be referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC). The investigation identified a few cases of gardai deleting penalty points in contravention of new regulations introduced last June to prevent abuses of the system. It also found evidence to suggest officers continued to terminate penalty points even after two garda whistleblowers revealed there had been widespread abuse of the system.

“Nóirín O’Sullivan, the interim garda commissioner, ordered an investigation last September after The Sunday Times reported an allegation by Maurice McCabe, one of the two whistleblowers, that some officers caught speeding were continuing to claim wrongly they had been using private cars on official garda business.”

“These cases are among those being referred to the GSOC, which is already running a separate investigation into the termination of penalty points. The cases could result in disciplinary hearings, demotions or the imposition of fines.”

“The delay in finalising the GSOC investigation has been attributed to labour shortages, after the agency lost a number of staff. Frances Fitzgerald, the justice minister, and O’Sullivan have promised to restore public confidence in the penalty points system. Fitzgerald has promised to publish the findings of the internal investigation once it has concluded.”

Security sources believe the report’s publication is unlikely, given that it contains evidence that could lead to GSOC taking disciplinary or criminal proceedings against officers. “The promise to publish the full report was politically motivated,” said one security source. “The Department ofJustice will probably publish a redacted version.”

Good times.

Watch back here



Limerick TD Patrick O’Donovan (Fine Gael) asked the new chairperson of the Road Safety Authority Liz O’Donnell at a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications earlier for her opinion on the increase of penalty points from two to three and if she thought the penalty was disproportionate.

If that’s the deputy’s attitude, what’s the point?

Name the O’Donnell jammer anyone?

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)

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John Mooney, of The Sunday Times, on last night’s Prime Time

The Garda Inspectorate Report is set to be published today.

It looked at allegations made by whistleblowers, former Garda John Wilson and Sgt Maurice McCabe, that many serious crimes were not fully investigated.

Last night, on Prime Time, journalist Rita O’Reilly reported that the report is expected to reveal that true crime figures were “underreported, underrecorded and underplayed”.

Last Sunday, John Mooney, security correspondent at The Sunday Times, reported:

The practice of “massaging” crime statistics is said to be widespread in some garda divisions. It means that the true scale of crimes such as burglary, theft and criminal damage is downplayed in some divisions, which could have a bearing on officers’ chances of promotion.

The inspectorate, which is led by Bob Olson, a Canadian police consultant, examined more than 150 incidents over three years and found that in some cases gardai did not even record crimes on Pulse, the force’s computerised database.

In other cases it found evidence to suggest that gardai did not respond to reports about certain types of crime, including incidents of domestic violence.

It is understood the Garda Inspectorate is considering investigating the force’s response to domestic violence.


Following on from Sgt Maurice McCabe’s fresh allegations in September – that certain gardaí were continuing to cancel penalty points, despite the introduction of new regulations three months previous, in June – last night Katie Hannon, of RTÉ’s Prime Time, reported that a report into these fresh allegations has found them to be true.

This new report was carried out by the Garda Professional Standards Unit.

Eighteen months have passed since Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony’s May 2013 internal Garda report into the penalty point allegations concluded there was no widespread quashing of penalty points.

Watch Prime Time in full here

Previously: Lest We Forget

The Thin Blue Timeline [Updated]


Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe



Mr Donohoe confirmed he had discussed with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald last night Sgt Maurice McCabe’s latest allegations that several hundred penalty points are continuing to be terminated every month by members of the force.
“Both of us agree that they’re very, very serious and they must be investigated…It is hugely important that these areas be investigated properly and it be done in a clear manner,” he said.

Penalty point allegations ‘very, very serious’ – Donohoe (IrishTimes)


How many can access the new system?

Interim Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan said the timeline in relation to these allegations was very important. She said only three people could cancel penalty points under the new system introduced in June.


That seems to narrow it down to three people.

It’s a two-piper.

Minister urges people not to jump to conclusions over new penalty points allegations (RTE, Monday)

(Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland)


Justice Minisiter Frances Fitzgerald and acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan at the Gdra College Templemore, Co Tipperary this morning.

Ms [Frances] Fitzgerald said the allegations were being investigated by both the Garda Ombudsman and the Garda Professional Standards Unit and people should not jump to conclusions.She rejected assertions that An Garda Síochána was an ill-disciplined and out of control force and said people should wait until the full facts have been established.

Minister urges people not to jump to conclusions over new penalty points allegations (RTÉ)


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Also this morning.

The first group of students to begin training in at the Garda college since 2009.

Eamonn writes:

“There are 100 students made up of 18 females and 82 males. Former Garda Reserve members are also included in the uptake….”

Ethnic minorities (out of picture)

(Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireand)

Meanwhile, outside…


Shedding ‘hattitudes’ outside.

(Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland)


Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe on duty in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, when he met Enda Kenny while the Taoiseach was canvassing in the town in May

In yesterday’s Sunday Times, Gemma O’Doherty reported how garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe has claimed that certain gardaí are continuing to cancel penalty points for colleagues, friends and relations, despite assurances from Garda management that the practice no longer takes place, particularly since the new regulations were introduced in June.

Sgt McCabe has made an official report on the matter, while the interim commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan forwarded the allegations to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald who has, in turn, sent them to the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission for investigation.

Further to Ms O’Doherty’s report, RTÉ’s This Week reported yesterday that:

It is understood that the new dossier of claims includes: off-duty gardaí caught driving their own private vehicles who subsequently had points cancelled on the basis they were driving “emergency vehicles”.

In one case, in the past two months, this included a garda driving a 15-year-old car who had points cancelled on the basis he was driving an emergency response vehicle.

A significant number of the cases relate to penalty points which were cancelled after no address for the driver could be found.

Among these cases there were serving gardaí whose addresses are readily available to gardaí, it is alleged.

In Ms O’Doherty’s report, Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness – who is also chairman of the Public Accounts Committee – said he had concerns for Sgt McCabe, in light of the fresh allegations, saying:

“I am deeply concerned that Maurice will be targeted again. We need a guarantee that he will not be punished again in any way for trying to do his job and helping to improve our police force.”

And well he might be concerned.

Lest we forget.

Among other things, Sgt McCabe was…

– Transferred from Cavan to Mullingar after he made allegations of malpractice in the Cavan/Monaghan division in 2008, including claims that gardaí in Cavan didn’t carry out proper investigations into incidents including physical assaults, sexual assaults and false imprisonment.

– Allegedly assaulted and falsely imprisoned by then Assistant Commissioner Derek Byrne in the Hillgrove Hotel in Co. Monaghan on October 11, 2010, after Sgt McCabe revealed he had removed hundreds of files from Pulse which showed gardaí had falsely claimed that certain people were involved in criminality.

– Investigated by gardaí in Baileboro Garda Station in Cavan after it emerged that a hard drive seized from a Fr Michael Molloy – who was later convicted of child abuse and child pornography – had vanished. An attempt was made to blame the disappearance of the hard drive on Sgt McCabe. A disciplinary process continued for 18 months before Sgt McCabe was cleared of any wrongdoing.

– Was told, in February 2012, by the then Garda Confidential Recipient Oliver Connolly that no further action would be taken on his (Sgt McCabe’s) complaints. Mr Connolly also warned Sgt McCabe: ‘I’ll tell you something Maurice – and this is just personal advice to you – if Shatter thinks you’re screwing him, you’re finished.’ Mr Connolly advised Sgt McCabe to avoid going to the media and to go through the courts system.

– Was almost blocked from giving evidence to the Pubic Accounts Committee in January – about the quashing of penalty points – when former Garda Commissioner Callinan consulted the Attorney General Maire Whelan’s office about preventing Sgt McCabe from going before PAC.

– Was wrongly blamed by Garda colleagues for releasing Jerry McGrath from custody before McGrath went on to kill Sylvia Roche Kelly.

– Was forced to write to the Ceann Comhaire Sean Barrett to ask former Justice Minister Alan Shatter to correct the Dáil record over Mr Shatter’s comments that Sgt McCabe and former Garda John Wilson didn’t cooperate with Assistant John O’Mahony’s penalty points inquiry.

– Was forced to contact interim Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan in May after she told the Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality that: “Senior Garda management are very supportive of Sgt McCabe and certainly are in contact with him on a daily basis” as this was untrue.

– Was tasked with drawing up a road safety plan in the Midlands in May but important information – including a Road Safety Authority report critical of a Garda proposal on the road safety plan – was deliberately withheld from him.

– Only got his access to PULSE restored in May after being prohibited from using it, for 18 months.

Separately, readers may also wish to recall how former garda whistleblower John Wilson only received his ‘certificate of service’ after a recent story appeared in The Sunday Times (by Gemma O’Doherty) which outlined how he had been waiting 15 months for the cert – which he needed to apply for work elsewhere. During a High Court case against the gardaí in May, Mr Wilson was offered an exemplary certificate of service on the condition he withdrew his action, but he refused to do so.

Points abuse is still rife, says garda sergeant whistleblower McCabe (Gemma O’Doherty, Sunday Times)

New penalty points allegations referred to Garda Ombudsman (RTÉ)

Previously: The Thin Blue Timeline [Updated]

McCabe And Ms O’Sullivan

UPDATE: Sgt Maurice McCabe will meet with senior gardaí today to discuss his new allegations.

Senior gardaí to hold talks over new allegations of penalty point corruption (RTÉ)