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Garda Inspectorate praises 'credible' Maurice McCabe, says 'nobody was watching the store'

Garda Inspectorate chief inspector Robert Olson has shed more light on the damning findings in his report at a press conference in Dublin this evening.

Bob Olson at a press conference this evening
Bob Olson at a press conference this evening
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE GARDA INSPECTORATE found whistleblower Maurice McCabe to be credible when it came to information he provided about the fixed charge processing system.

At a press conference in Dublin this evening, the head of the Inspectorate, Robert Olson outlined the details of a damming report into the penalty points system which found “inconsistent and widespread” breaches of policy.

Olson said there were no clear policy guidelines, no internal controls, widespread breaches of policy, resources wasted, an onerous paper-driven process, and ultimately a loss of legitimate revenue to the State.

He said that while he would not use the word ‘corrupt’ in relation to what had been uncovered there had been “no clear policy guidelines, no audits”.

“You know, nobody was watching the store. That’s what we found,” he said.

‘Clearly was credible’

He said that McCabe, who has been the subject of claims that he did not cooperate with an internal garda inquiry into the penalty points allegations, was “credible” having met him during he course of the investigation.

“We found that the information he gave us on the fixed charge processing system was credible,” Olson said this evening.

Olson stressed that his work was confined to the process and systems within the gardaí, but that the information that McCabe had provided regarding this “clearly was credible”.

He added: “It was not our remit to identify individual wrongdoing by any people at all. Those kind of things are for GSOC [the Garda Ombudsman] or the [Garda] Commissioner to do.”

Olson was also asked about his report stating that the Inspectorate was told by senior garda staff that but for public scrutiny the extent of the deficiencies in the penalty points system would not have been detected.

He said that was a “lament from several senior garda that we interviewed” during the course of the investigation which began last July.

Better system would have saved money

He also said that had a better system been in place there would not have been as much revenue lost or missed in recent years.

“There was so much leakage, if you will, within the system that there were a lot of legitimate revenue issues there that had a better system been in place, there would have been a lot more revenue coming in,” he said.

Olson’s deputy, Mark Toland, said that an enormous amount of summonses were not served resulting in this loss of revenue saying there were a “huge amount of inconsistencies” with the application of the current system.

The inspectorate has proposed that anyone who is given a fixed charge notice in future should be issued with a ticket at the time the offence occurs so they know they have been reported.

Olson said future systems would need to be “much more user friendly”, where citizens will be able to pay fines online or through third parties and said the process should take 90 days rather than up to 200.

Read: Damning report finds “inconsistent and widespread” breaches of penalty points policy

Read the Garda Inspectorate’s damning penalty points report, in full

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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