Garda Ombudsman to investigate penalty-points system

The Justice Minister is referring the allegations of alleged Garda corruption in the penalty points system to the Garda Siochána Ombudsman Commission.

In a statement this evening, Alan Shatter said he believed the time was now right to refer the issue in order to allay public concerns.

After explosive hearings last week, Minister Shatter said some members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) were pre-judging issues that the committee had to consider.

He described as "disturbing" some of the comments from what he said was a minority of members of the PAC which he said "risk bringing the work of the committee into disrepute".

He said the public concerns about the proper operation of the penalty points system could be addressed through the garda Ombudsman and is making the arrangements for the inquiry to happen.

Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan welcomed the Minister's intervention and said it was "critical that the (penalty points system) retains the support of the public so that it continues to play an important role in improving road safety".

He added: "An Garda Síochána is committed to engaging with all its employees and any member of An Garda Síochána who wishes to report wrong-doing within the organisation will be fully supported and afforded every protection.

"I want to once again state that An Garda Síochána remains as committed as ever to full accountability to the Oireachtas and the citizens of this country."

His comments came after he told the PAC last week that he found the actions of the whistleblowers who produced information alleging widespread abuse of the penalty point system "quite disgusting".

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