Dublin West TD and Justice Committee member, Jack Chambers TD has described this morning’s revelations relating to the contract awarded by the Department of Justice to the GoSafe consortium to carry out speed checks, as deeply troubling.
Figures published show that the country’s speed van operator ‘GoSafe’ was paid €1.2m per month for a six year period up to May this year.
He commented, “The network of 50 GoSafe vans, which operates at 1,000 locations nationwide is contracted to provide 7,000 hours of speed monitoring each month with a fee of €151 per hour and it also receives a flat rate of €45,000 each month. This is a vast amount of money and an enormous cost on the exchequer.
“From the very outset, this information should have been publically available and not hidden or shrouded in secrecy. It is unacceptable that this information had to be sought through an appeal under the Freedom of Information Act.
“While there can be no doubting the necessity of clamping down on motorists speed on our country’s roads in order to reduce fatalities, failings around the GoSafe speed van prosecutions have been consistently highlighted by Judges around the country for some time now.
“In some instances GoSafe speeding cases at District Court have been dismissed by the Judge after hearing that motorists did not receive the fixed charge penalty notice from Gardaí, GoSafe officers were a no-show or in some cases incomplete evidence was supplied.
“Over the course of the past 4 years, we have seen a 40 % reduction in the number of Gardaí allocated to the traffic corps. According to the Road Safety Authority speed kills an average of 141 people on Ireland’s roads each year, which means deterrents are crucial but we must acknowledge that so is keeping the traffic corps appropriately staffed.
“It seems contradictory that while this Government cut our traffic corps they were simultaneously outsourcing and blowing millions on a company that couldn’t even provide basic evidence in Court.
“In the interest of public interest and full transparency, the department needs to outline the contract that was put in place in May. I am therefore calling on the Department officials who were involved in this tendering process to come before the justice committee in autumn to properly detail the terms of this contract.
“It is also necessary that the Minister details clearly on what statutory basis employees of the State privatised speed camera operation are obliged to appear in court,” he concluded.