A large number of drivers who have committed road traffic offences and have not paid their fines continue to go unpunished in the county as no changes have yet been made to the controversial Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS).
At last week’s sitting of Castlebar District Court, Judge Mary Devins once again raised the issue of the quality of the paper on which the summonses are printed, stating that these particular summonses were ‘the worst examples she had seen so far; you can’t read the front or the back of these’.
Judge Devins struck out a total of six summonses, which included offences such as exceeding the 100kph limit, parking on double yellow lines, non-display of discs and no driving licence.
A Garda spokesperson said the situation remains ‘far from ideal’, but it was hoped that problems with the system would be ironed out as early as possible in the New Year.
“Supt John Quirke has made the problems we are experiencing here in Mayo in relation to the quality of the paper known to headquarters, but as of yet we have heard no response.
“We know it is far from ideal as our men here on the ground are doing their best to ensure that road users in Mayo are law-abiding, so it is disheartening when offenders go unpunished through no fault of our own,” stated the spokesperson, who added that the new FCPS system was basically ‘rushed through’ to comply with legislation.
Apart frrom the paper quality, another loophole which has emerged is people denying they received the summons in the post. The Garda spokesperson said An Post have not introduced a Registered Post system.
The FCPS was heralded as a new departure when introduced earlier in the year as it allowed gardaí on the roadside to send details directly to a central processing system, and this was supposed to save them time as they did not have any further role in the processing of the offences.
The spokesperson for the Gardaí said it was likely that changes would have to be made to the system as people could not continue to go unpunished for obvious offences.
The Department of Justice told The Mayo News that any issue with the system was a matter for the Gardaí.