Our website uses cookies to enhance your browsing experience and to collect information about how you use this site to improve our service to you. By not accepting cookies some elements of the site, such as video, will not work. Please visit our Cookie Policy page for more information on how we use cookies.

Statement of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan in relation to allegations of improper cancellation of Fixed Charge Notices on the 15/5/13

Commenting on the report published by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Shatter TD, earlier today, the 15th May 2013, in relation to allegations of improper cancellation of Fixed Charge Notices, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said:

"In October 2012, the Department of Justice and Equality referred to me correspondence received confidentially from an anonymous author, containing a number of allegations that fixed charge notices had been improperly cancelled by members of An Garda Síochána and alleging corruption, deception and falsification of records, malpractice and impropriety on behalf of some members.

On receipt of the allegations and given the gravity of same, I immediately directed Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahoney to establish a high level team to investigate each of the allegations. The Assistant Commissioner and his team conducted an extensive examination of each of the allegations and identified, a total of 189 separate allegations, covering a total of 2,198 cancellations of fixed charge notices. The majority of allegations were sufficiently specific in nature to enable a detailed and thorough examination. Others lacked specificity and were so general in nature that a detailed follow through was not possible.

At the outset, I should state that An Garda Síochána is committed to its vision of ‘Excellent People Delivering Policing Excellence’ and in that context, is fully conscious of its role and responsibilities towards Confidential Reporters and compliance with the Data Protection Acts.

I want to acknowledge the detailed examination conducted by Assistant Commissioner O’Mahoney and his team in establishing the facts surrounding these allegations. I welcome the fact that on the basis of material examined, by the Assistant Commissioner, no evidence has been found to suggest any act of criminality, corruption, deception or falsification as alleged by the anonymous author.

I am however disappointed to discover that there was less than full compliance with policy and procedures and in a small number of cases involving three (3) members, possible breaches of discipline have been identified and files have been forwarded to Assistant Commissioner, Internal Affairs, the designated authority under the Discipline Regulations for further investigation in that regard. In those circumstances it is not appropriate to comment further.

The use of discretion by members of An Garda Síochána is best demonstrated as the application of practical, prudent and balanced judgement, which sees the law applied in a manner that is fair, equitable and appropriate to the particular circumstances of individual cases. The principles of equality and non discrimination always apply. In approaching the application of the law, An Garda Síochána and its membership must be cognisant of these requirements and must be guided by their purpose and intent.

Assistant Commissioner O'Mahoney also made a number of recommendations arising out of his findings to strengthen the process and procedures surrounding the cancellation of the fixed charge penalty system. In addition to the examination conducted by the Assistant Commissioner, I also tasked the Professional Standards Unit, who have a statutory remit, to inter alia, examine compliance with policy and procedures and I have received a comprehensive report from that Unit containing recommendations on how procedures can be strengthened in this area.

I am confident that both sets of recommendations together with any other supplementary recommendations that may be suggested by the Garda Inspectorate should provide sufficiently robust assurances with regard to the integrity of the system.

I look forward to working with the Garda Inspectorate towards the validation of the strengthened procedures put in place. Finally, I want to assure the public of my commitment and that of An Garda Síochána to working with the Road Safety Authority and other key stakeholders in our continuing efforts to prevent road traffic collisions and our commitment to saving lives and preventing serious injuries on our roads network."