Michael Fitzmaurice TD has called for an immediate investigation following the news yesterday that Garda errors led to thousands of people being convicted in Court despite having previously paid a fine.
Commenting on the news Michael Fitzmaurice TD said “An immediate and thorough investigation must be carried out into the revelations this week that Gardai manipulated breath testing figures and also that thousands of road traffic convictions will have to be set aside because of a systems failure”.
The news came to light following a review which began last year. In April 2016 a person was summonsed to Court for no NCT Certificate. It transpired that the person had already paid a Fixed Charge Notice (fine). As a consequence An Garda Síochána commenced a review to establish how this had occurred and IT Systems have been put in place to prevent it happening in the future. In a statement yesterday they said “We will be writing to all of the people affected and explaining what happened and how we propose to rectify the situation. Any fines imposed will be reimbursed and all records involved will be corrected”.
It was also revealed yesterday that a significant deficit existed between the Breath Test data recorded on the PULSE System for Roadside Breath tests versus the number of breath test recorded on the apparatus used by the Medical Bureau for Road Safety – 1,995,369 tests noted compared to 1,058,157 test on the Medical Bureau for Road Safety equipment.
“This is a further blow to public confidence in the Garda Siochana following all the recent scandals and an immediate investigation must be carried now and those responsible for these serious errors must be brought to book. The public deserve transparency on this matter. This situation is going to cost the taxpayer between six and ten million Euro and maybe even more if there are cases taken again the Government by motorists whose insurance has gone up in price as a result of road traffic convictions that have been struck out”.
“We know that the problems extend to all regions nationwide but altering these very important figures is surely a sackable offence and the people responsible must be identified and dealt with. The scale of the errors revealed this week are very serious with over 14,500 people were penalised by the courts when they never should have received a summons in the first place and the Gardai now say that they recorded one million breath tests more than they carried out. Everyone knows there can be problems with statistics but this needs to be properly investigated I am calling on the Garda Commissioner and Minister Fitzgerald to make an immediate statement on the matter and an investigation should be announced without delay” he concluded.