Statement by the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan


Re: Reports by An Garda Síochána re: (i) breath tests carried out at Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoints (MATs) and (ii) issues in relation to the Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS)


6 September 2017


“On Thursday I received copies of the reports by Assistant Commissioner Michael O’Sullivan regarding breath tests carried out at Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoints (MATs) and the Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS). These lengthy reports are detailed and technical and cover a period of several years - from 2006 in relation to FCPS and from 2009 in relation to MATs.

“I have today briefed Cabinet on these Garda reports, which I understand will be published by An Garda Siochána later today.

“The reports identify serious and concerning problems in the operation of both the Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoint system and the Fixed Charge Processing System.  Both reports indicate that An Garda Síochána has already put a range of measures in place to address issues around data collection and recording and the operation of both the MATS and FCPS systems.

 “I am greatly disturbed by findings that indicate that between 3% and 9% of the PULSE records relating to MAT/MIT checkpoints are estimated to have inflated breath tests.  I note that any potential such cases identified in this report have been referred to the relevant Regional offices for further investigation and sanction where appropriate. This is critically important. Enormous responsibility and great trust is vested in An Garda Síochána and it is therefore vital that members of the force discharge their duties with professionalism and integrity.

“The report on the Fixed Charge Processing System identifies technical and training/guidance problems and indicates that the IT solutions to the issues identified have been effective in preventing further occurrences. It also proposes solutions to the other issues, which will be examined in detail in conjunction with the Policing Authority report. I welcome the steps underway to remedy the situation where drivers were incorrectly issued with summons arising from these failures and I acknowledge the impact on drivers affected.

“I look forward to receiving the report of the Policing Authority into both of these issues.  The Policing Authority is vested with an important oversight role in respect of An Garda Síochána and its independent analyses of these issues will be critical.  This report is due in the coming weeks.  I will take all appropriate action when this report is submitted to me.”