Judge Mary Devins said the decision to give the GoSafe company responsibility for operating speed cameras and prosecuting offenders was clearly not working.
She said it might have ‘sounded great’ in Dáil Eireann but was clearly not effective in court.
In Ballina District Court on Tuesday a GoSafe inspector submitted a photo of the alleged offence to Judge Devins. He told her that Keith Scanlon, Lower Doofeeney, Ballycastle, was photographed driving at 94 kilometres an hour in an 80-kilometres-an-hour zone at Culleens, Ballina on May 4 last.
Inspector Joe Doherty then asked the Go Safe inspector to explain what happened next and whether a fixed charge penalty notice was issued. The GoSafe employee responded by informing the court that it should have been. However, he had no evidence to prove that it was.
Judge Devins said, “How do I know what happened?” before turning to Inspector Joe Doherty of Ballina Garda Station and adding, “This is most unsatisfactory Inspector.”
She continued, “This is one of those ideas that sounded great on the floor of Dáil Eireann but in reality it has not proved satisfactory or effective in court.” Judge Devins then struck out the charge. The scheme is estimated to cost €65 million over a five-year period.
At the September 7 sitting of Castlebar District Court, two defendants told Judge Devins that they did not pay the fine because they had never received a fixed-penalty notice informing them that they had been detected.
The Garda Press Office has previously admitted that summonses issued by GoSafe were sent by ordinary post rather than by registered post. A spokesperson said they would not comment on the operational performance of the GoSafe company.
Commenting recently, solicitor Evan O’Dwyer, who represented a client in a speeding case at Westport, told The Mayo News that he believes there will soon be challenges to speeding summonses ‘right across the country’.