Arts Minister contradicts GSOC's decision not to pursue Gardaí who illegally scrapped penalty points

Newly appointed Arts Minister Josepha Madigan has contradicted GSOC's controversial decision not to pursue gardai who illegally scrapped penalty points, saying there must be accountability on the issue, writes Political Correspondent, Fiachra Ó Cionnaith.

Ms Madigan made the comments after Fine Gael was criticised by Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath and Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire over concerns guilty gardai will not face further action because of the costs involved.

Last Friday, the independent Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission said despite proof of widespread illegal scrapping of penalty points by gardai, individual officers will not be pursued because the cost and task is too large.

The decision was taken despite the fact 52 gardai were found to have scrapped penalty points, with one officer scrapping hundreds of the fines across the country.

Speaking on RTE's The Week in Politics programme, Ms Madigan said she "personally" believes "there should be accountability" and that a failure to pursue individual gardai for cost reasons is not acceptable for the public.

"It's not acceptable, how can anybody say it's acceptable? I am not the Minister for Justice but I will speak with him about it.

"Personally, yes, I do think there should be accountability. In what way it is applied is not my responsibility, but yes of course I think there should be [accountability]," she said.

Speaking on the same programme, Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said "we need accountability at all levels" and that "ordinary people will not accept the situation" where gardai are not pursued for wrongdoing.

Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire agreed, saying "I think there will absolutely have to be accountability" as there is "a clear paper trail there" of penalty points being illegally scrapped.

Noting the GSOC claim the scale of the work and the cost involved is too much, he added:

"If somebody goes into a shop and steals, just because it happens 20 times in a day you do not say you're not going to pursue."


 

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