Varadkar "disappointed" by GRA stance on breath test scandal

The Taoiseach said anyone responsible for falsifying tests should be held accountable

Varadkar "disappointed" by GRA stance on breath test scandal

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the final press conference on Day two of the Fine Gael Autumn Think-In in Tipperary, 15-09-2017. image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

The Taoiseach has warned that neither rank and file Gardaí nor Garda management are exempt from punishment for the fake breath test scandal.

Leo Varadkar was reacting to the claims from the Garda Representative Association (GRA) that its members did not falsify figures and its insistence that management demanded it.

It follows a report warning that the recording of almost 1.5 million fake breath tests has undermined public confidence in the force.

This afternoon, Mr Varadkar said he is disappointed by the GRA's stance - noting that an internal Garda report had shown that officers did fake the numbers.

However, he said the government will decide what action to take based on an external report due to be delivered in the coming weeks:

"I do believe there should be individual accountability for anyone who was involved in falsifying breath tests," he said. "And not just at the level of individual rank and file gardaí but of course of there were people at management level who were demanding this of people who report to them."

Yesterday the GRA, which represents over 10,000 rank and file gardaí, said senior officers had demanded data on negative tests, adding that it was used as a "crude measure of productivity" in order to improve promotion opportunities.

It said that "no can categorically say" rank and file members were responsible for falsifying data, adding that there were "numerous examples of supervisors and managers having input into this system."

The association also warned that there was "little or no training; and the recording process was obviously flawed."

The scandal was one of a number of issues that led to former Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan's retirement last week.