Deputy Tommy Broughan has expressed his shock at the Irish Times report this morning that “Garda breath test figures fail to add up” regarding the differences in number of breath-test results being uploaded to the PULSE system in comparison with the numbers of disposable mouth pieces being ordered from the Medical Bureau of Road Safety.
According to statistics on the Garda.ie website (whose figures also inform the Road Safety Authority’s reports), in 2009 there were 277,398 breath tests at MAT (Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoints), in 2010 there were 566,760, in 2011 there were 539,658, in 2012 there were 460,578 and in 2013 there were 441,380. 2014 figures showed that the number of breath tests reduced down to 397,513 and this had further reduced to 327,450 in 2015. If these figures are overinflated then this means that the yearly reductions in MATs are even greater than the official reductions.
Deputy Broughan says “Given the current controversy surrounding An Garda Síochána, I was dismayed to read that the differences found in Cork and Kerry in the official recorded numbers of breath-tests and the numbers of mouth pieces ordered was so significant that a nationwide audit has now been ordered. Of course, I welcome the audit but how long has there been such a discrepancy and in what districts? What are the actual numbers that we are talking about? How many administrative errors are taking place nationwide and why has the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and the RSA not requested a meeting with the ‘witness’ who reported some Gardaí allegedly breath testing themselves? There are huge questions about this and I have submitted a number of Parliamentary Questions to the relevant Ministers today. 22 people have died on our road already this year that is 2 more than this time last year. This is simply not good enough. Drink driving is a huge factor in loss of lives on our roads and there should be an increase in MATS across the country and certainly no possibility of inaccurate statistics being entered into the PULSE system. Where is the accountability? Who is charged with ensuring that accurate and timely information is recorded on PULSE regarding MATS? Is it possible (as indicated in the Irish Times article) that test mouth pieces could be used which would upload automatically into Garda computers? We need answers urgently.”