Should gardai be punished for the recent scandals in the force?
Hundreds of Gardaí who abused the penalty points system will escape disciplinary action after Gsoc said it would be too expensive and too difficult to pursue them.
A report published by Gsoc provided further evidence of the widespread abuse by gardaí of the penalty points system in recent years.
This included gardaí hiding their involvement in the cancellation of penalty points by logging into the Garda computer system using the credentials of retired ex-colleagues.
However, the report indicated the further investigation of individual cases was “very unlikely” as it would be difficult to progress disciplinary proceedings due to a lack of supporting documentation.
It said even the cheapest estimate for the cost of a further probe was well above €1m and the commission believed this “would not be the best use of public money”.
The report followed a three-and-a-half-year investigation examining the period between 2009 and 2014. It found that too many members of An Garda Síochána were authorised to cancel fixed charge notices – a total of 442 in the four years.
Cancellations were also carried out by superintendents and inspectors for fixed charge notices outside their geographical area, contrary to policy.
The report found one officer based in Dublin cancelled 744 fixed charge notices across 17 counties, while 46,161 notices were cancelled by a garda working in the Fixed Charge Processing Office.
The probe was ordered by then-justice minister Alan Shatter in 2014 after allegations made by whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe came into the public domain.
The force’s cancellation policy has since been changed and authorisation to cancel penalty points is now restricted to a small number of officers.
Similarly, it was revealed by the acting garda Commissioner that he will not be pursuing disciplinary action against anyone in the organisation in relation to the breath test scandal.
Dónall O Cualáin told members that the organisation “unreservedly apologises for the unacceptable behavioural and governance failures” which led to the recording of 1.4 million phantom breath tests on the garda Pulse system.
The Commissioner noted that the recent report carried out for the Policing Authority by consultancy firm Crowe Horwath on the scandal found no evidence of criminality. There is, however, evidence of breaches of discipline, he said.
To review all 502,730 calls made by gardaí to the Garda Information Service Centre relating to alcohol testing checkpoints since 2009 would take a number of years.
As a consequence, he decided that pursuing discipline across the entire organisation is not appropriate and said that he appreciates that this will not meet the expectations of some people.
O Cualáin said he must balance the need to address the issues identified with the need to minimise disruption to services or huge spending of taxpayer’s money.
Today I want to know if you would like to see individuals punished for the Garda scandals.
Or if you agree that it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Do you think individuals in the organisation should be punished for the scandals?