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speed legislation Judge examining cancellation of penalty points 'uneasy' with gardaí driving at speed

Judge Matthew Deery has also recommended that gardaí should be required to explain why they were driving over the speed limit before they are exempt from receiving penalty points

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A judge tasked with examining the cancellation of penalty points said he was "uneasy" about gardaí speeding when driving to court or returning a prisoner to custody.

Judge Matthew Deery has also recommended that gardaí should be required to explain why they were driving over the speed limit before they are exempt from receiving penalty points.

He has been the sole Independent Oversight Authority for the Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS) cancellation policy since 2015 in the wake of the penalty points scandal.

The watchdog has been reviewing and monitoring the cancellation policy, and referring any matters to the Garda Commissioner or the Justice Minister.

In his sixth report, Judge Deery said changes should be made to how penalty points are cancelled for gardaí.

Currently, members of An Garda Síochána using their private vehicles can have any points received cancelled if they satisfy the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that they were driving in the course of their duty and not endangering the public.

Gardaí on duty must also satisfy the Cancellation Authority they were speeding in similar circumstances before they are exempt from receiving a fixed charged notice.

However, Judge Deery said he remains "uneasy about a member driving excessively fast and claiming the exemption, for example, in circumstances where the member has attended a consultation in the Four Courts or where the member is bringing persons in custody back to the garda station".

The watchdog said the current legislation should be amended to include a requirement that gardaí must explain why it was necessary for them to exceed the speed limit. A similar recommendation was made in the Garda Inspectorate report on countering corruption.

It has been accepted by the Government.

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