GoSafe van expenditure ‘shockingly excessive’ – Ó Laoghaire
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Justice Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has this morning criticised the high costs of the operation of the GoSafe speed vans.
He also raised concerns about the unwillingness of Gardaí and the Department of Justice to release such information, with the Office of the Information Commissioner overruling both parties, deeming it to be in the public interest.
Speaking this morning, the Cork South-Central TD said:
“The revelations from RTÉ on the cost of the GoSafe speed camera operation are quite extraordinary.
“It is shocking to hear of this level of public funds being spent in such a manner. Clearly speed cameras are an important part of managing road safety; they have and do save lives.
“However, elements of this contract are extraordinary, and questions must be asked about the nature of this contract, the levels of expenditure, and whether that represents value for money.
“The company was paid a flat rate of almost €45,000 per month before a single vehicle was checked. On top of this, a rate of €151.79 was paid per hour of speed monitoring, while €144.40 is paid for each surveying hour.
“The agreement states that a daily rate of €1,343.44 must be paid if a designated service manager is required to appear in court as instructed by the Garda Commissioner.
“Hourly rates range from €40.79 for the appearance in court of administration staff and up to €167.93 for a service manager; which are enormous sums for court appearances.
“It is also worrying that the Gardaí Síochána and the Department of Justice fought tooth and nail to keep this information out of the public domain - it took a determination from the Information Commissioner to get this information released to RTE - that suggests that the Department and Gardaí knew that these levels of expenditure were not justifiable. Information on such levels of public expenditure are clearly in the public interest and should not have been contested.
“Indeed, the strength of the legal basis for GoSafe appearing before courts in relation to speeding charges, must also be called in to question, as several district court judges have thrown out cases because issues with GoSafe, including judges who felt that their staff did not have the legal authority to assist in the prosecution of speeding cases.
“The Minister for Justice needs to outline what statutory basis exists for GoSafe appearing in court, and whether further attempts to charge people for speeding will be dismissed on this basis. If there are weaknesses present, then they must be addressed.
“I understand that the contract referred to ended in May 2017, and was replaced by a new contract - the Minister and the Gardaí must now outline the nature of this new contract, what levels of expenditure are involved, and if the issue of what appear to be outrageous fees have been resolved.”