Jack Quann
Jack Quann

12.49 5 Jan 2021


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The head of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has claimed plans to 'name and shame' motorists who have been disqualified from driving would see the Road Safety Authority (RSA) 'doling out punishment to people'.

The initiative was first proposed by the RSA back in 2015 - but it now hopes to progress the scheme over the coming year.

It would see names and address of people convicted of serious road traffic offences published.

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Noel Gibbons is road safety/communications officer at Mayo County Council.

He told Newstalk Breakfast the approach in itself is not unheard of.

"This isn't something new - every local paper has a section in their publications every week where they cover the local court cases, and people who attend court are named".

"Similar initiatives have been around in New Zealand and various different police forces across the UK, with some success.

"So any initiative I believe that can reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads has to be welcomed."

But he added that this is still being researched by the RSA, and "hasn't been given the 100% OK to go ahead yet".

While Liam Herrick, executive director of the ICCL, said under the proposal the RSA "is putting itself in the position of actually doling out punishment to people."

"It's one thing to say that 'justice is done in pubic' and the papers report on court cases, it's another thing to deliberately seek to advertise names and addresses of people with the purpose of punishing them.

"And that's not the role for the RSA, or indeed any agency other than the courts".

'Lots of other problems'

He also suggested that the RSA using personal information in this way "can only be justified - and it's acknowledged this itself - if this is the only means of achieving the aim that it wants to achieve, which is to prevent deaths".

But he said this is not the only road it can take.

"It's previously failed to meet this burden, and it's not clear that there's any prospect that it's going to meet this burden now.

"There's lots of other problems around disqualified drivers, which can be met in other ways - but publishing the names and addresses of individuals is unlikely to be the most effective way of doing this".

He added the approach is "putting the RSA in the position of the courts", and that there is a data protection issue.

"If a State agency wishes to use personal data in this way, it would need to say that this was the only means of achieving the aims".

However Mr Gibbons said data protection will not be an issue, as they would have already gone through the court process.

"My understanding is that these names will be published after the people have gone through the courts, so the convictions will have taken place."

He said the RSA would get this information from the Courts Service.

"It's a mechanism for people in the community to know when and what people in the locality have been convicted of serious offences.

"These aren't minor road offences, these are drink-driving convictions and other dangerous driving sentences".

Plans to 'name and shame' drivers would see RSA 'dole out punishment' - ICCL

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

   

Main image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

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Disqualified From Driving Irish Council For Civil Liberties Liam Herrick Name And Shame Name And Shame Drivers Noel Gibbons Road Safety Authority

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