A FORMER Mayor of Limerick says he was advised by a senior official at City Hall that he was entitled to have penalty points cancelled after he was caught speeding.
Cllr Jim Long says he received two penalty points and was fined €80 after he was detected driving in excess of the speed limit on the outskirts of the city.
While the incident happened during Cllr Long’s term in office in 2011-12, he was not on official mayoral business at the time.
Cllr Long says after he received the fixed penalty notice, he paid the fine and did not seek to have the penalty points cancelled, despite being informed he could do so.
“It was brought to my notice that I could have made an approach to have them quashed but I decided not to do it. It was brought to my notice; ‘Look pick up the phone, because of who you are they will be put away’,” he said, claiming the advice was given to him by a “senior official” at City Hall.
Cllr Long, who is seeking to retain his seat in the upcoming Limerick local elections, disclosed details of the incident following the publication of a report by the Garda Inspectorate into the operation of the penalty points system last week.
Figures released by the Inspectorate show a total of 3,459 motorists had penalty points quashed by gardai in Limerick during 2011 and 2012.
According to the report, this represents 5.4% of all penalty points issued across the Limerick garda division during that time.
Of the penalty points which were quashed locally, more than half were cancelled as a result of applications made at either Henry Street or Roxboro Road garda stations in the city.
In the wake of the figures from the Inspectorate, Cllr Long says those who had penalty points cancelled by gardai should also be refunded the fine.
“Those people who had them (penalty points) quashed because of a lack of procedure or incorrect procedures should be refunded their money,” he said.