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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Topical issue debate. Penalty points system.

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Topical issue debate. Penalty points system. (10 Dec 2015)

External website: http://oireachtasdebates.oireachtas.ie/debates%20a...


Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: I thank the Minister of State for coming to the House to take this debate. I understand the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Donohoe, is in Brussels. The Minister of State last took a similar debate on 22 October. He told me in respect of questions I put to the Minister that he had no doubt the Minister would address the issues I raised, because it was not in his nature not to do so. Unfortunately, the Minister, Deputy Donohoe, has not given me any replies to the key questions I put to the Minister of State that day. For example, I requested that the Minister would clarify whether it was the case that there is no requirement in legislation for the Courts Service to record the licence of a disqualified driver. I also asked for clarification regarding the breathalyser printouts and whether they had to be in English and Irish.

 

Yesterday, I asked the Taoiseach to ensure the new road safety Bill dealing with drug-driving and mutual recognition with Northern Ireland would be passed before the Dáil ends. Along with my colleagues in the outstanding and sterling civil society group, the PARC road safety group, led by Ms Susan Gray, we continue to trudge through half-answers, fob-offs and long-awaited replies from the Minister, Deputy Fitzgerald, and the Minister, Deputy Donohoe. The tardiness of both Ministers is the nub of the debate, namely, the urgent need for the Minister to direct the Road Safety Authority to compile, monitor and update statistics relating to the intimidation and follow-up of penalty point offences and disqualifications, in particular those relating to drink-driving and dangerous driving.

 

Earlier in the summer, through figures supplied to me by the Minister for Justice and Equality, we discovered that of the 20,830 drink-driving cases listed before the District Court between January 2013 and May 2015, just 8,391, or 40%, received a conviction. That involves completed cases. The Courts Service quickly challenged the figure and said the overall conviction rates were over 80%, but how can we verify this information? The Ceann Comhairle disallowed a number of parliamentary questions in which I asked for the number of cases, the reasons they were struck out per the District Court for the 20,830 driving cases between January 2013 and May 2015, the number of cases and reasons for adjournment in the same parameters per the District Court, the number of cases withdrawn in the same parameters per the District Court, and the number of cases and reasons for non-completion in the same parameters per the District Court. We do not have all that information in the House. I am still awaiting a reply to my parliamentary question on the overall breakdown of the above issues, which was finally accepted.

 

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