Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2398)

Marc MacSharry


2398. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he has met with the Minister for Justice and Equality in order to discuss the process by which drivers guilty of fixed-charge motoring offences such as speeding or mobile phone usage receive penalty points; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32714/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

Penalty points may be received either on payment of a fixed charge to An Garda Síochána or following conviction in court.

While there is no fundamental difficulty in the endorsement of penalty points following the payment of a fixed charge, my Department and the Department of Justice and Equality engage on a regular basis on the improvement of the fixed charge processing system, through the Criminal Justice (Fixed Charge Processing) Working Group, which was established in 2014 to implement the comprehensive recommendations of a Garda Inspectorate report on the system.

As the Deputy will be aware, there have been difficulties in applying penalty points in some cases of conviction in court, due to failure to record driving licence details. This can mean that it is not possible to match the conviction to a licence record and therefore to endorse penalty points.

The requirements for recording a driving licence following conviction in court under road traffic law are set out in section 22 of the Road Traffic Act 2002. In its original form, section 22 raised a number of problems over the years. As a result, my Department engaged with the Department of Justice and Equality and with the Courts Service to establish a revised procedure. This was introduced by amending section 22 via the Road Traffic Act 2016. I am satisfied that, so far as the legislation for which my Department is concerned, the process is sound provided it is properly implemented.

In light of recent information regarding the non-recording of licence details, I have recently written to my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality, proposing that our officials meet to discuss further the difficulties which have arisen and to consider how these may be resolved.