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Almost 50,000 false breath tests were recorded by Donegal gardaí

Number of breath tests carried out was exaggerated by 61%

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

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Almost 50,000 false breath tests were recorded in Donegal by gardaí over an eight-year period.

The figures were revealed in a Garda report by Assistant Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan that showed gardaí recorded almost  1.5million false breath tests in the Garda Pulse system.

Comparisons with the number of tests recorded by Dräger breathalyser devices in the Donegal Garda division shows the figures were exaggerated by 61 per cent. According to the report, the national discrepancy rate was 71%.

Nationally the figures were exaggerated by 1.45 million.

Between June 2009 and April 2017 gardaí in Donegal recorded 128,666 tests on the Pulse system but the number of tests recorded on the  Dräger devices was just 79,899, a difference of 48,767.

Assistant Commissioner O'Sullivan found 3,498,400 breath tests were recorded nationally on the Garda Pulse system while the records from the Drager breathalyser devices showed 2,040,179 tests were carried out.

The Donegal division had one of the lowest discrepancy percentages. The report showed that ten of the 28 divisions had a disparity between Dräger and Pulse figures of over 100%. The biggest difference was observed in Tipperary (385%), followed by DMR West (373%) and Meath (315%). Regionally, the biggest disparity was in the South East (142%). Five divisions had a lower discrepancy rate that Donegal.

The figures also showed that only three Garda divisions recorded more breath tests than Donegal on the Dräger deceivers, and those divisions were all in the Dublin metropolitan region.

Commenting on the report the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said: “Assistant Commissioner O’Sullivan’s reports identify failures in our systems, processes, oversight, supervision, and management. These failures are completely unacceptable and all of us in An Garda Síochána must now take responsibility for ensuring this cannot happen again. Changes have already been introduced and we are committed to ensuring the required cultural, behavioural and systems changes are made. I agree with Assistant Commissioner O’Sullivan when he writes that these failures, particularly in relation to breath tests, reflect poorly on the professionalism of the organisation and are damaging to public confidence. It is vital that An Garda Síochána continues to have the public’s confidence and support in order to carry out our work.”

Today government chief whip and Donegal TD Joe McHugh expressed confidence in the Garda commissioner saying she could not be blamed for malpractice that occurred before her tenure.