Statement by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD

24 March 2017 

The scale of the issues which were the substance of a press conference from An Garda Síochána yesterday is very concerning.  

In relation to the fixed charge notices An Garda Síochána issued a press statement on 10th June 2016 and wrote to the Department to indicate they were conducting a nationwide audit.  

As a result of this audit a further report was provided to the Department on 14th March 2017 and the final figures were presented by An Garda Síochána at their press conference on 23rd March 2017.  

Also on the 10th June 2016 the Department was informed that an audit was under way in relation to mandatory alcohol testing. 

This followed concerns regarding the veracity of data held in relation to breath tests, which had been raised. 

In February 2017 An Garda Síochána indicated the full results of the audit would be available by the end of Q2 2017.  

An Garda Síochána indicated in June 2016 that solutions had been put in place in both circumstances. 

With regard to the fixed charged notice issues, An Garda Síochána has outlined how the serious errors will be addressed.  

I have raised these issues with the Garda Commissioner and the Chairperson of the Policing Authority and have outlined my very serious concerns.  

The Chairperson of the Policing Authority, Josephine Feehily, has confirmed that the Authority will continue to examine these matters. The reason that I prioritised and set up the Authority was to shine a light on and examine issues such as these. 

In relation to the mandatory alcohol testing solutions have been put in place and the Commissioner has advised me that she will take all steps necessary to ensure that this cannot reoccur.  

I have made it clear to the Commissioner that the practices that allowed this misreporting to happen within An Garda Síochána over many years need to be fully addressed and the new systems that she has put in place will need to be robust, tested and verified in the time ahead.  


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