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Shatter: Allegations on penalty points concern only 'small minority' of cases

The justice minister says fewer than 300 alleged driving offences are being questioned, out of a total of almost 1.5 million.

THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE has said that an investigation into the alleged inappropriate removal of penalty points offences from motorists’ licences concerns only a tiny proportion of the overall number of offences incurred.

Alan Shatter told the Dáil that the investigation being undertaken by Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Mahoney, following allegations that senior Gardaí inappropriately removed records of motoring offences and caused penalty points to be wiped clean, deal with fewer than 300 incidents.

This was in comparison to 1,460,726 ‘fixed charge’ notices which had been recorded between January 2009 and June 2012.

Shatter did not say how many of those notices may have been struck off the record for legitimate reasons, though opposition TDs have claimed the number is in the tens of thousands.

“From the interim report I’ve received, some of the occasion in which fixed charge notices have been cancelled, have been in respect of ordinary individuals,” Shatter said, explaining that such notices could be cancelled in cases such as medical emergencies or mistaken records of the offending car’s numberplate.

Shatter said that while he took allegations of impropriety amongst Gardaí “with the utmost seriousness”, he stressed that it was incorrect to assume that any termination of a fixed charge notice had been inappropriate or that people were being “afforded special treatment”.

“I am concerned that the outcome of the investigation being conducted into the allegations is being unfairly prejudged, and I would urge caution in this regard”.

Shatter said a member of the judiciary whose penalty points had allegedly been removed in such a way, without any conclusive investigation into the legitimacy of such actions, had been named “unfairly” by opposition TDs last week.

Garda Commissioner: Investigation into penalty points cancellations will be ‘rigorous’

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Gavan Reilly

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