Tánaiste says Gardaí "must accept collective responsibility" for failures

Frances Fitzgerald says "there can be no place for a culture of blame in An Garda Síochána"

Tánaiste says Gardaí "must accept collective responsibility" for failures

The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald speaks to the media, 24-03-2017. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews

The Justice Minister says rank and file Gardaí should not blame management for inflating breath test figures.

Gardaí last month revealed that almost a million breath tests were wrongly recorded.

Separately, there were 147,000 motor offences where a court summons was issued instead of a fine (known as a fixed charge notice).

In total, 14,700 of the cases resulted in a penalty being imposed by the courts. 

The GRA - who are holding their annual conference in Galway - have said the breath test scandal is not their fault, suggesting it is a management issue.

The Tánaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald, however, says all levels in the force needs to take responsibility.

Speaking at the GRA conference this afternoon, Minister Fitzgerald said: "There can be no place for a culture of blame in An Garda Síochána. The challenges the organisation faces are too great for that kind of posturing.

"The recent fixed charge notice and alcohol breath test issues were failures. Failures of the entire organisation.

"The force must accept collective responsibility and collectively resolve to ensure something like that never happens again." 


Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan, meanwhile, said Gardaí either could not count cars at checkpoints accurately or someone invented the figures.

She argued: "We either have a case here where members of An Garda Síochana aren't able to count, or haven't counted accurately, the number of cars that are going through checkpoints and are stopped.

"Or we have something, at the other end of the scale, is there is someone who is just making up figures."

However, she stressed the need to wait for the internal review of the matter by Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan.