Garda Commissioner vows to remain in position

Nóirín O'Sullivan announced a major overhaul of garda road policing systems and indicated she will not stand down

The Garda Commissioner has insisted that she will remain in her position – regardless of the outcome of a motion of no confidence in her leadership due to take place in the Dáil next week.

Nóirin O'Sullivan said she is “very conscious” of the damage done to the credibility of the force by the recent scandals on penalty points and exaggerated roadside breath testing figures.

she said there will be a "radical restructuring" of roads policing systems adding that she is determined to continue here "journey of work" reforming An Garda Síochána.

She said a review into the controversy should produce results within three months.

It comes after garda officials revealed last week that thousands of court summonses were issued over a ten year period for road offences that did not require them.

It also emerged that official garda figures had recorded almost one million roadside breath tests that never occurred.

Motion of no confidence

Commissioner O’Sullivan has faced mounting calls to resign or be dismissed over the past number of days with opposition parties unhappy with how she has reacted to the scandal.

The Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald did not ask her to resign when the pair met earlier today, however Sinn Féin has tabled a motion of no confidence in her leadership and other opposition parties - including Fianna Fáil - have demanded a full explanation.

This morning, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny again insisted he has confidence in the commissioner - with the issue due to be discussed in Cabinet tomorrow. 

Major overhaul

At a press conference this afternoon, Commissioner O’Sullivan announced a major overhaul of garda road policing systems in response to the revelations.

She also announced that all 147,700 people who were wrongly convicted of road traffic offences in court will now be contacted – with a process put in place to have their convictions set aside.

She said the scandal has highlighted issues that need to be addressed - but insisted that corrective actions were put in place as soon as the gardaí became aware of the discrepancies:

“It is important that I emphasise and reiterate that we have been taking action and we have been putting corrections in place to make sure that this cannot happen.”

Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, who heads up the national roads policing bureau, will now head up the new Roads Policing division.

Assistant Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan has been appointed to investigate how the malpractice was allowed to develop - and is due to report back with his findings in three months.

The commissioner insisted that addressing the scandal was not about pointing the finger at the guard on the street but said if individuals - or groups of individuals - were found to be responsible, they would face penalties.