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Gardaí STILL cancelling penalty points, says whistleblower

McCabe has handed over evidence to GSOC and has been interviewed at the Ombudsman’s office recently.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated 4.41pm

GARDA WHISTLEBLOWER SERGEANT Maurice McCabe has handed over evidence to the Garda Ombudsman that he claims shows penalty points are still being cancelled by senior officers within the force.

A source told TheJournal.ie that McCabe made an official report to his superior after being made aware that the abuse was continuing. He has recently been interviewed by GSOC over four days and is due to be grilled again by the Ombudsman in relation to it. The source said the Ombudsman’s office is “taking it very seriously”.

“We had all been assured that access to this button or to termination [of points] had been taken away from everyone but the Thurles processing office but that’s obviously not the case,” they said.

A spokesperson for GSOC said they could not comment on an open investigation but said any new allegations would “certainly be examined” in the context of the wider investigation which started earlier this year.

These fresh allegations were first reported this morning in the Sunday Times. Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said he had also been made aware of the alleged abuse.

“There is evidence there that shows the practice is still widespread in spite of the fact that we had public hearings – it still goes on,” he commented to TheJournal.ie. His committee has previously examined allegations of penalty points abuse because of the potential loss to the Exchequer – each cancellation is €80 taken out of the pot.

“I’ll be raising it in the context of the PAC because this is an ongoing piece of work and we haven’t produced our report yet but even within that timeframe it’s occurring again,” he said.

“It also needs to be dealt with by the Minister because there is an issue within the force – despite the recent publicity it still goes on.”

Interim Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan has ordered a full audit of all points cancelled since new regulations came into force in June.

The garda press office said the force “takes any allegations of members not correctly implementing policies and procedures in relation to the Fixed Charge Penalty System (FCPS) very seriously”.

These allegations are currently being examined by senior management. If any infringement of these policies and procedures is found to have taken place then action will be taken.

They pointed to the changes made to the system in June this year and said the force is “fully committed to improving the effectiveness and transparency” of the penalty points system.

As with all the stakeholders involved in the on-going development of the Fixed Charge Penalty System, An Garda Síochána’s primary focus is in ensuring that the system continues its success in improving road safety and reducing road deaths.

The Department of Justice has also been contacted for comment on the new allegations.

First published 3.37pm

Read: Garda whistleblower to meet with Commissioner over harassment>

Read: How should TDs and Senators deal with whistleblowers? Here’s some advice they got…>

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