Report on penalty points sent to Minister for Justice and Defence Alan Shatter

Sunday 02 March 2014 19.43
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It is understood garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe was interviewed at length for the report
It is understood garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe was interviewed at length for the report
The report by Chief Inspector Robert Olson was sent to Justice Minister Alan Shatter on Friday
The report by Chief Inspector Robert Olson was sent to Justice Minister Alan Shatter on Friday

The Garda Inspectorate report into the operation of the penalty points system has been completed and sent to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, RTÉ's This Week programme has learned.

It is understood that garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe, who alleged widespread abuse of the penalty points system by members of the force, was interviewed at length by the Garda Inspectorate's Chief Inspector, Robert Olson.

Mr Olson's final report was sent to the minister on Friday.

Meanwhile, lawyers for Sergeant McCabe are to write to Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil Sean Barrett, seeking the formal correction of comments made by Minister Shatter.

The minister told the Dáil last October that Sergeant McCabe had failed to co-operate with an internal garda inquiry into allegations of widespread cancellation of penalty points by members of the force.

It is also understood that Sergeant McCabe is taking legal advice in relation to comments made by the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan at the Public Accounts Committee last month.

The Commissioner told the Committee that he “directed" the garda sergeant to co-operate with that inquiry.

Those instructions were given verbally, however the interaction was recorded by Sergeant McCabe.

According to transcript of the Commissioner's instructions, which were broadcast on RTÉ's Prime Time, Sergeant McCabe was told that if he had any issues to raise, these "can be brought" to the attention of the senior garda in charge of that inquiry.

The minister told the Dáil last week that he accepted that Sergeant McCabe had not been formally directed to take part in the inquiry, nor had he been interviewed as part of the probe.

However, the minister said he had been "invited" to contact the inquiry.

As well as interviewing Sergeant McCabe, it is also understood that the Garda Inspectorate conducted a lengthy interview with Noel Brett, the former chief executive for Roads Safety Authority.

The Garda Inspectorate report is believed to also include an examination of how Sergeant McCabe's complaints were handled by garda management.

The officer who carried out that inquiry told the PAC last month that he had not interviewed Sergeant McCabe.

Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony said he did not believe he needed to, for a number of reasons.

The Garda Inspectorate report is entitled 'The Fixed Charge Processing System: A 21st Century Strategy'.

It examines how the entire penalty points system works in practice; and it makes recommendations about how the system might work more efficiently and effectively.

The Garda Inspectorate does not have the statutory remit to make findings of wrongdoing against any member of the force or private citizens.