Tag Archives: Penalty Points


Fine Gael TD and Assistant Government Chief Whip Joe Carey 

In evidence, Garda Dermot O’Rourke said that he was operating a mobile speed detection van on October 14 at Ballaghafadda West. He observed a car exceeding the speed limit by driving at 71kph in a 50kph zone, and Mr [Joe] Carey was the registered owner of the car.

Challenging the prosecution on Mr Carey’s behalf, solicitor John Callinan pointed out that the space where the picture alleged to be Mr Carey’s car registration should appear on the documentation was blacked out.

Garda O’Rourke said that the blacking out on the page had occurred because the page “went through the photocopier so many times”.

In response, Judge Patrick Durcan said: “I’m going to strike it out.”


Speeding case against Fine Gael TD gets struck out (Irish Independent)


[Chief Inspector of the Garda Siochana Inspectorate, Bob Olson with the report into fixed notice charges in Dublin today ]

“The report states that the accumulation of “fixes” over the years resulted in a technically deficient, managerially uncoordinated and inefficient support system.

The inspectorate also found that the system was fraught with wasteful use of garda and other stakeholder resources in administering the system.

The inspectorate said it was told by senior garda staff that the extent of the deficiencies within the penalty points system would not have been detected, but for the public scrutiny.

It recommends that the summons service process be reviewed to establish why so many summons are not served.

The inspectorate recommends a system be introduced immediately to ensure that all penalty points are endorsed on driving licences.”

More as we read it.

Report here.

Report finds widespread breaches in penalty points policy (RTE)

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)


00147853[Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan]

“I want to clarify that my use of that term was not in reference to the character of either Sgt McCabe or former Garda Wilson, but the manner in which personal and sensitive data was inappropriately appearing in the public domain without regard to due process and fair procedures.” Martin Callinan this evening.


BijGFcRCEAAkmQ7Martin Callinan during the Public Accounts Committee hearings.

Garda Commissioner stands by ‘disgusting’ comment on penalty points leaks (Fionnan Sheahan, Independent.ie)

(Laura Hutton/Photocall ireland)

Screengrab via Ronan Delaney


[Former member of GSOC and former Irish Times editor Conor Brady]

Further to reports that the Garda Inspectorate has recommended that the power to cancel penalty points be removed from divisional garda officers and instead be transferred to the Fixed Charge Processing Office in Thurles, Co Tipperary, former Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission member Conor Brady spoke to Keelin Shanley on the RTÉ Radio One Today with Seán O’Rourke show this morning.

Mr Brady said GSOC investigated the processing office in 2007, found it to be ‘utterly dysfunctional’ and yet the results of that investigation were completely ignored.

Conor Brady:In 2007/2008, the Garda Ombudsman Commission actually conducted a full investigation of the Fixed Penalty Points system, in other words the office in Thurles [Co. Tipperay] to which all problems are now going to be referred. The GSOC report on the fixed penalty point system found it to be utterly dysfunctional, utterly ineffective, only a small proportion of cases were actually brought through to conclusion and in some category of offences, fewer than 17% were actually brought through to conclusion.”

Keelin Shanley: “That’s what GSOC found and this is the body we are now charging with…

Brady: “We found that in 2007. What I would say now is that the minister laid that report as he is obliged to do before the House of the Oireachtas, not a single politician of any persuasion or party referred to it once. Now it may well be that some reforming spirit has spread through the central processing office in Thurles since then, I genuinely don’t know but if it hasn’t then they have a major job ahead of them because this is a system which is not fit for purpose..”

Shanley: “Well, was not fit for purpose, as you say, we don’t know what has been done.”

Brady: “Well, was not fit for purpose.”

Garda chiefs’ powers to terminate penalty points to go (Irish Times)



Serving Garda Sergeant Maurice McCabe (top) and retired Garda John Wilson arrive at Leinster House to give testimony on the penalty points issue behind closed doors to the Public Accounts Committee this afternoon.

More to follow.

Maurice McCabe’s noble attempt to police gardaí (Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner, January 25)

(Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland)



Galway West Labour TD Derek Nolan and Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in the Public Accounts Committee this morning.

Mr Nolan tried repeatedly to ascertain from the Commissioner what his definition of corruption is in relation to the quashing of penalty points…to no avail.

Derek Nolan: “If a garda cancels penalty points for a friend or for someone they know or a relative, does that come under your definition of corruption?”

Martin Callinan: “I would expect, Deputy, that each individual case would be examined on its merits and, if it’s the case that there’s justification for a cancellation, then that would take place. I don’t expect any member of An Garda Síochána to get involved in doing favours for their friends or for their family, or anybody else. I would expect, I would expect that all of these decisions are made, based on a solid foundation..”

Nolan: “Sure but I’m just, I’m being pedantic because, you’ve referenced the [John O’Mahony] report and you’ve said there was no evidence of criminality or corruption. And what I’m trying to get at is what does corruption mean? Does it mean that if I cancel it for a friend, as a favour, and I got no benefit for it, that it’s not corruption? But if someone paid me to cancel the fine, then it is corruption? I’m trying to find out if this level, if this level of activity, that was maybe informal, doing someone a favour, doing someone a kind of a, if that qualifies in the report as being corruption or not?”

Callinan: “Well, all I can point you towards, deputy, is, with the greatest of respect that I expect that everybody making those decisions made them for the right reasons and they’ve bona fide reasons, that there’s a genuine reason proffered in the first reasons by the person that’s making the petition and that the professional judgement of the officer making the decision is balanced and fair. That’s all I can ask. Now whether your brother, your sister, mother or father shouldn’t really come into it. It’s either it’s right or it’s wrong.”

Nolan: “I understand that, I accept that but this is my point, is that what your internal investigation into the matter took a sample of cancelled notices, of cancelled Fixed Charge Notices, and went through them, I think there was 672, were randomly selected. And the examination found that there wasn’t any evidence to suggest any act of criminality or corruption. So what I’m trying to do is tease out what this statement means. And is it saying that if, does corruption mean I have to take money to do it or does corruption mean that I was, I was doing a favour for a friend? I mean perhaps the person who wrote the report can tell me what that means?”

Callinan: “Well, certainly of course he’s [John O’Mahony] here and that’s the reason he’s here. but corruption, in my view, well it doesn’t appear to be defined in law. One would have the ordinary meaning applied to it, the ordinary meaning that we would understand to be corruption, public officials of course is catered for, so when you’re talking about that type of corruption, you’re talking about perhaps someone that has received money or a favour, or renumeration – all of those things – but that’s as far as I’m concerned where it lies, I can do no more than say to your deputy, in response to your question, that I would expect all of my officers to act fairly and appropriately. And in circumstances where they found there was justification for cancelling ticket that they would do that and otherwise they would reject that and send it forward for summons. It’s…all I can do is provide guidelines and there’s a reasonable expectation that people will follow those guidelines.”

Nolan: “I accept that and I’ve seen the report that’s been updated from the C&AG and the new processes that have been put in place which will make sure this can’t happen again. But I’m trying to…you see this has come to the fore because people are agitated about it. And read it and made an issue out of it and demanded that it went to the public. And the things that they’ve said is that if you know a guard, some guards, and I actually want to preface that, if you knew some guards, you could get off your penalty points. If you were a family friend, if you were someone who worked with someone…And it wasn’t that there was money being exchanged or that was favours being done, it was simply because there was a personal relationship and that liberty was there. I mean we’ve identified that the system in place already was weak and there was very little, a lack of information and the C&AG has expressed his concerns about the system in place. The [Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahony] investigation done took a sample of 672 Fixed Charge Notices and came to the conclusion that there was no evidence of criminality or corruption and I suppose what I’m trying to find out is, is there evidence of this other attitude: of this other possibility, which is that if you knew somebody, that you could get your penalty points cancelled? Or that there was a lax or a disregard for the process?”

Callinan: “Well, deputy, with the greatest of respect, I have read and I’ve seen all of those allegations, the same as you have. And it is the case that I, I’m sorry for repeating myself, it is the case that I expect members of An Garda Síochána, who are in charge of this responsibility, to act fairly and impartially, regardless of who these people are. Of course I’m alive to the allegations, and of course I’m reading these things. But, let’s be clear: I’m not saying the system is weak, you’ve mentioned that a few times. The system itself, there have been weaknesses identified within it but the process, the overall process is quite substantial in terms of success. I can’t, I know the point you’re making, deputy, but…”

Nolan: “But, in fairness Commissioner, I’m asking you about your own report. I’m not asking you about allegations. I’m asking you to comment on what the…”

Callinan: “With the greatest of respect, deputy, I’ve answered you a couple of times on the point and I’ve clearly indicated to you that if you’re suggesting to me that a family member or somebody close to the Superintendent, or the Inspector, can somehow or other influence that person, to look after the ticket, then that’s not the conduct that I would accept as being a valid reason for the cancellation, nor could I ever stand over that. That’s all I’m saying.”

Nolan: “Did the [O’Mahony] investigation that took place uncover such actions, as I’ve outlined?”

Callinan: “Well I think if you look at the report, you’ll see the report lays out the percentage of cases where members of An Garda Síochána, within the band of allegations which is what Mr O’Mahony’s investigation is doing, it’s looking at a set of allegations, 189 different allegations that’s speak to 2,198 separate cancellations, so that’s a very, very targeted exercise and it sets out the number of, the percentage of members of An Garda Síochána who have had tickets cancelled, I think it’s in the region of 8%, of those particular cohort of cancellations, for reasons of being on or off duty.”

Nolan: “The C&AG report of 2000, so 14 years ago,stated that there was a practice of allowing fine notices to be cancelled on the instructions of garda superintendents without recording the reasons and that this may lead to different criteria for cancellations being applied in different areas and they also created the perception that certain kind of fines could be fixed. And that was from the C&AG report in the year 2000. Those concerns are repeated in 2003 and again in 2007. Yet it took allegations, whistleblowing and, you know a serious media storm in 2012 to get updated and in place new investigations into this. Why did it have to get to a national scandal, a national uproar for recommendations that were made 13/14 years ago to be implemented?”

Callinan: “Well, you see you’re talking about a national scandal. Where is the national scandal here?”

Watch here (Committee Room 1)

Previously: The 2.2%

Penalty Point Weirdness

Difficult To Quash

Dear Mr Rae


Earlier in the meeting, PAC chairman John McGuinness said the names of the gardaí and alleged offenders on documentation contained in the ‘box of evidence’ – given to PAC by a garda whistleblower – have been redacted and therefore compliant with data protection rules.

He said the two garda whistleblowers have been invited to attend next Thursday.

However, in reply to a question from Fine Gael TD Simon Harris, Mr Callinan said he would rather the whistleblowers didn’t come before PAC, saying:

I think in the first instance it goes without saying, I’d have to take legal advice but my personal view, my personal view is that members of An Garda Síochána, who are serving, or retired, should not becoming in to this forum and using this platform to discuss matters of such importance, particularly in the context of criminal and serious allegations that are being made, against their colleagues. I think it would certainly have an adverse affect on the maintenance and discipline and good order in the Garda Síochána and that would be my primary concern.


[Screengrabs of a report by Ursula Halligan on TV3’s 5.30pm news tonight]

Ms Halligan reported on some of the evidence that the anonymous garda whistleblower will present to the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, and a statement from him on the matter.

She reported that the garda sergeant will tell PAC that as many as 200 senior gardaí regularly quashed penalty points for family, friends and ‘powerful people’.

He will claim 14 senior gardaí were ‘habitual offenders’, with those 14 alone writing off fines worth €1million, and one of those 14 costing the State €80,000.

Among the examples he will present to PAC, include:

– A sports star who was caught speeding seven times – five in one day – by a Go-Safe van, which would amount to €560 in fines. But the sports star received neither a fine nor a penalty point. Ms Halligan reported that the whistleblower claims the only reason for the star not getting fined was ‘garda discretion’.

– A ticket issued for speeding on October 1, 2012 would have amounted to an €80 was later cancelled because the driver was ‘being tested at an NCT tester’. But when the whistleblower contacted the NCT centre, he was told the car had been NCTed 18 months earlier and was not being tested on the day the ticket was issued.

– In May 2011, a male motorist was caught speeding on a stretch of road in Kildare. The speeding ticket was cancelled by a senior officer, who explained it away by saying there was a query about the speed limits in the area. However, the whistleblower says 14 other motorists caught in the same place, around the same time, on the same day, by the same Go-Safe van, all had to pay their speeding fines.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and the whistleblower will appear before PAC on Thursday, starting at 10am.

Watch the TV3 report in full here

Previously: The Right To Remain Silent

The 2.2%


The Irish Independent reports that Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan won’t be “forced to go head-to-head with a garda whistleblower when he is quizzed about penalty points” at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday.

Shane Phelan reports:

“The committee has confirmed that while the whistleblower may be called to give evidence at a future date, there will be no showdown with Mr Callinan this Thursday.”

Meanwhile, a report in the Irish Daily Mail this morning [not online] states that the anonymous garda whistleblower has given PAC a new dossier which apparently details further evidence of widespread termination of penalty points. This dossier is separate to a box of evidence that was handed to PAC in November and prompted a row between PAC and Mr Callinan.

Philip Ryan writes:

“[Public Account Committee chairman] John McGuinness confirmed he had received a 20-page document from the whistleblower. He added that Mr Callinan would be questioned about the dossier and the previous findings of an internal Garda report on the points controversy, and any apparent differences.

“…Mr McGuinness said the whistleblower’s evidence and a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General seemed to ‘contradict’ the findings of an internal Garda report on the points controversy.”


No face-off for Callinan with garda in penalty points quiz (Irish Independent)

Previously:  Not Seeing Your Points

Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland


[Former garda John Wilson]

“We started to discover clusters,” he says. “Myself and the other man. We started seeing the same names coming up again and again on the Pulse [Garda computer] system and we realised that certain people were being looked after; that people with connections in Irish society, from judges to politicians to celebrities, were having their points quashed and that this was happening in every town in the country.”
Wilson, along with his colleague, brought a sample of their findings to an individual within the force called the Confidential Recipient, who was responsible for dealing with internal complaints.
“…But when nothing happened we decided to bring the information to an Independent TD, Clare Daly and to use that old vernacular expression – that’s when the shit really hit the fan.”

Garda whistleblower John Wilson speaking with Robert Mulhern of The Irish Post this week.

Mr Mulhern has made  a radio documentary about Mr Wilson, called The Garda Who Limped. It will be broadcast tomorrow [Saturday] on RTÉ Radio 1 at 2pm.

It can also be listened to here.

Is Garda whistleblower simply ‘a rat’ or Ireland’s answer to Edward Snowden? (Irish Post)

Previously: Keeping A Lid On The Box Of Evidence

Early Profiling

Penalty Points Weirdness

Meanwhile At INM

The Penalty Points Whistleblower

Thanks Robert Mulhern


BbtDdPjCMAAnVpu.jpg large Assistant Republic of Ireland manager Roy Keane, Editor-in-chief of Independent News and Media Stephen Rae with ROI manager Martin O’Neill at the Irish Independent Sports Awards in the Westbury Hotel earlier this week.

A champion day as our sporting elite honoured (Laura Butler, Independent.ie)

Previously: Dear Mr Rae

Pic: Frank McGrath