Farrell quizzes Garda Commissioner over breath test & fixed charge notices scandal

Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal and member of the Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee, Alan Farrell, has quizzed the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan over the mandatory alcohol testing, and fixed charge notices scandals which have come to light in recent days.

“As a member of the Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee, I have questioned the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, and other members of the senior management of An Garda Síochána, over the mandatory alcohol testing and fixed charge notices scandals – information on which has recently been brought into the public domain.

“The fact that the number of mandatory alcohol tests was over-reported by almost one million is shocking and absolutely disgraceful. In her appearance in front of the Justice and Equality Committee, the Garda Commissioner has accepted that ultimately members of An Garda Síochána must have been involved in this deception.

“Furthermore, the revelations that 14,700 people received court summonses without having either had the opportunity to pay a fixed charge notice, in line with the law, or having already paid a fix charge notice, is simply unacceptable.

“Myself, and many other members of the Oireachtas Justice and Equality Committee, have had great concerns over the procedures which were followed by the Garda organisation in identifying the extent of these problems, and adequately addressing these inadequacies and wrong-doings.

“It is also concerning that these matters will ultimately have an adverse impact on both the public trust in the work of An Garda Síochána, and the morale of members of the force.

“The rank-and-file members of An Garda Síochána work each day to protect every person in the Irish State. We cannot allow the actions of some who would provide deceptive information, to detract from the hard work the men and women of An Garda Síochána do on our streets, and in our local communities, 365 days a year.

“However, following the revelations on both fixed charge notices and mandatory alcohol testing, we must have answers, those responsible must be identified and held accountable, and every person who has been wrongly prosecuted must be exonerated and receive a full apology from An Garda Síochána.

“Anything less cannot, and will not, be acceptable.”