· Judge Matthew Deery finds ‘substantial compliance’ with the Fixed Charge Processing System policy

· Minister satisfied that “we have a very robust process in place” and that “the public can have confidence in the operation of the Penalty Points system”

 

28 January 2016

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has today (Thursday 28th January) published the first annual report of the Independent Oversight Authority for the Garda Fixed Charge Processing System.

In January 2015, the Minister appointed Judge Matthew Deery (retired President of the Circuit Court) to this new role, to provide a further, independent assurance as to the operation of the system. His role is in addition to ongoing internal Garda audit and oversight. This appointment builds on a package of measures introduced to address the concerns raised in relation to the cancellation of penalty points, with the revised Garda FCPS Policy introduced in June 2014 at the centre of those new arrangements.

Judge Deery’s report covers his first year in the role and outlines his working methods and findings. As outlined in his report Judge Deery reviewed cancellations by choosing a random sample of a week in each three or four week period; and from that sample he:

· examined files from the sample where the approved cancelling authority has used his discretion and concluded that he would not disagree with the manner of the exercise of that discretion.

· examined cases where cancellation has been considered in respect of a Garda member driving a private vehicle in the course of official duties, that all such cases were referred to the DPP’s Office in accordance with policy.

Judge Deery concludes by saying that he is satisfied that there has been substantial compliance with the revised FCPS policy.

Minister Fitzgerald welcomed Judge Deery’s findings and thanked him for his work. She stated: “We have made significant and extensive reforms to the processing and oversight of requests for cancellation of penalty points”

“I am now satisfied that we have a very robust process in place and this is reaffirmed by Judge Deery’s finding of substantial compliance.”

It is important that the public can have confidence in the operation of the Penalty Points system. Judge Deery’s oversight is extremely valuable in that regard”.

The Minister further noted that Judge Deery’s report note continued difficulties surrounding the return of Fixed Charge Notices as undelivered by An Post and he refers to the recommendations made by Garda Professional Standards Unit (GPSU) in this regard.

The Minister has been advised that, on foot of the GPSU recommendations, An Garda Síochána continues to put in place additional enforcement arrangements at the Fixed Charge Processing Office in Thurles.

A number of the GPSU recommendation have also been considered by the Criminal Justice (FCPS) Working Group and it is intended that the proposed development of a ‘master driver licence record’ will assist by better linking databases and improving the address details for delivery of Fixed Charge Notices.

Ends.../

 

Note to Editors:

Link to the First Annual Report of the Independent Oversight Authority for the Garda Fixed Charge Processing System:

www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/First-Annual-Report-of-Garda-Fixed-Charge-Processing-System-(FCPS)-Cancellation-Policy-Oversight-Authority