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Fianna Fáil opposition to accountability for False Breath tests is absurd - Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

18 September, 2017 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has criticized comments from Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan that there would be no value in pursuing disciplinary action regarding the falsification of Breath tests.

Teachta Ó Laoghaire said;

"Central to many of the scandals involving an Garda Síochána of recent years, has been the lack of accountability for wrong doing, including Senior Gardaí.

“The Gardaí over the weekend appealed for information to be brought to themselves or the Policing Authority, with one story being reported on a Garda sitting at a desk blowing in to breath tests to make up the figures that had been asked.

"Speaking this morning ahead of the Fianna Fáil away day, Deputy O'Callaghan appeared to state that pursuing this further, would be futile, and that there should not be individual accountability. This follows on from remarks in the Sunday Times where he stated ‘we should move on from the false Breath test scandal'. 

"I absolutely reject that - in particular the idea that we can tolerate any longer, the culture of impunity, and of lack of accountability in the force. I believe that where there is evidence of wrong doing then those people need to be held to account.

"That includes Senior Garda Management. The interview given by John O'Keeffe of the GRA on Thursday raised the issue of Rank and File Gardaí being put under duress by their Management to produce false tests.

"That is a very serious assertion, and surely Fianna Fáil would accept that if it is the case that Senior Officers pressurized Gardaí to produce false statistics, then those Senior Officers, for example, need to be held to account, as with any other rank?

“It also ignores the fact that the Gardaí internally have also set in train a process which has allowed them to identify approximately 70,000 suspicious breath tests. Is Deputy O’Callaghan suggesting that they desist from this process now?

“Indeed he appears to be contradicting his colleague, John Curran TD last week, who last week stated ‘Any politician that would attempt to gloss over these findings is doing a serious disservice to the public and the longer term interests of the Gardaí.’

“As Nuala O’Loan has said, this is a serious matter of integrity in policing, and therefore that the new Commissioner, whoever that may be, should not let this issue lie.”

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