Speaking today, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD said "The Gardaí have been investigating the circumstances surrounding the termination of fixed charge penalty points involving Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan. During the course of the investigation, the investigating officers arranged to meet Deputy Flanagan. Prior to the arranged meeting, the investigating officers were contacted by his Office and were informed that he didn't wish to engage further with them. My understanding is that their investigation is substantially complete at this stage but the investigating officers are seeking written confirmation of his position in order that the investigation may be completed.

"I am disappointed but not entirely surprised that Deputy Flanagan, despite all his public statements and having written a very self-serving letter to me on the 21 March 2013 regarding the matter, naming individuals he claimed were involved and stating that he believed "the truth about the situation must be established" and that he "would have a very strong argument for having the points removed", is unwilling to engage further with the Garda investigation.
 

"I would also like to again clarify the position regarding the issuing of fixed charge notices to members of the Houses of the Oireachtas as comments have been reported in the media to the effect that TDs are exempt from liability for road traffic offences on their way to or from Dáil Éireann. This assertion is simply incorrect.


"Article 15.13 of the Constitution provides that "The members of each House of the Oireachtas shall, except in case of treason as defined in this Constitution, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest in going to and returning from, and while within the precincts of, either House …".
 

"Article 15.13 clearly, therefore, does not provide immunity from liability for offences, but only immunity from arrest in respect of certain offences. Where a member of either House has simply been issued with a fixed charge notice, for example for a speeding offence detected by a speed camera, Article 15.13 provides no basis for the cancellation of that notice, even if the offence allegedly occurred when the member was travelling to or from Leinster House."
 

15 May 2013

ENDS