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07/12/2012

Statement by the Garda Commissioner, Mr. Martin Callinan, concerning the cancellation of Road Traffic penalties - 7/12/12

Speaking at Garda Headquarters today, the 7th December 2012, the Garda Commissioner said:

I have already indicated that I have appointed Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahoney to examine allegations which have been made about the cancellation of Road Traffic penalties.
For obvious reasons, there are limits to what I can say publicly about this matter until that examination is complete.  It would be unfortunate if people were to take advantage of that situation to repeat publicly allegations as if they were established facts.


In view of some public comments which have been made about this matter, I think it is important that I make a number of points publicly at this stage.


Under my leadership as Garda Commissioner I am determined that the commitment of An Garda Síochána to the effective enforcement of Road Traffic Legislation will be absolute.  There is no question of what has been described as a culture of non-enforcement of penalties being tolerated by An Garda Síochána.  In fact, effective enforcement by members of the Force, along with the efforts of others, has contributed to a dramatic decline in the number of road deaths and injuries.  This is evidenced by the fact that year in year out hundreds of thousands of penalties are imposed and enforced for breaches of Road Traffic legislation.


The public can be assured that the investigation into the allegations which have been made will be comprehensive and rigorous,whatever the circumstances behind them.  If issues emerge as to how some individual cases were dealt with, these will be pursued fully.  Equally, if any lessons can be learned from the examination when it is complete, these will be taken on board.


It is important to emphasise that the allegations generally appear to be based solely on an examination of PULSE records.  In other words, allegations of impropriety are made without it being clear how the person making them would have complete knowledge as to what led to decisions being taken in particular cases or being in a position to assess properly whether the decisions made were appropriate.  In those circumstances, it is very unfair both to members of the Force, and to the people who were the subject of the notices, to assert wrongdoing in the absence of a determination of the full facts.  This danger has been highlighted during the course of the examination which is taking place.


It is important that the present examination be allowed to proceed unhindered and that there should be no rush to judgement in advance of a full determination of the facts.  In the meantime, one fact should be clear: An Garda Síochána is determined to enforce fully Road Traffic legislation so as to make our roads safer for all. 


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