News

Tánaiste to brief cabinet over Gardaí breath test controversy

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Image via @gardainfo Twitter

By: Michelle Bourke

Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, is set to brief the Cabinet on the Garda breath test controversy later today.

Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan, came under fire yesterday as she was unable to answer any of the questions posed to her at the Phoenix Park HQ. The Gardaí are in the middle of a large controversy after it emerged that they falsely reported around 1 million breath tests.

It was reported that almost 1 million breath tests that were recorded as having taken place never did between 2012 and 2016.

According to The Journal, the head of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) claims that his organisation alerted gardaí on two separate occasions, the first back in 2014, to discrepancies in breath test numbers before action was taken.

Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland, Prof Denis Cusack of MBRS said they became aware of the issue when extra mouth pieces for the breathalyser devices were not ordered.

Each test requires a new mouth piece and the bureau works with a Garda central stock depot to supply the pre-packaged equipment to Garda stations around the country.

“We noticed the numbers being reported on the Garda website and we knew the numbers of mouth pieces left. The numbers didn’t add up. We alerted the gardaí that the numbers were not adding up,” he explained.

While Gardaí have responded to the reports they have not yet explained how such a large number of tests managed to be falsified. Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan received much criticism yesterday for not answering the questions posed to her. She was criticised for admitting to problems in the department but for not accepting any responsibility.

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