Investigation

32,500 false breath tests recorded in the Sligo/Leitrim garda division

Large disparity between Drager and PULSE figures

Observer Staff

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Inquiry to proceed into Garda fixed charge motoring and drink driving breath test controversy

There was a 76% discrepency of breath tests in Sligo/Leitrim.

Over 32,500 false breath tests were recorded by gardai in the Sligo/Leitrim garda division over an eight year period it has been revealed.

In a report published yesterday, Wednesday, Assistant Commissioner Michael O'Sullivan found that 75,495 breath tests were conducted at MAT checkpoints in Sligo/Leitrim between June 7, 2009 and April 10, 2017.

However, figures collated from the Drager breathalyser devices supplied to gardai showed the actual number of breath tests carried out totalled 42,913.

This equates to a discrepancy of 32,582 or 76%. According the report, the national discrepancy rate was 71%.

The highest discrepency was found in the Tipperary garda division (338%) while the lowest discrepency was identified in Wexford (18%).

Locally, the figures for the Longford/Roscommon garda division shows there were 65,961 breath tests conducted but the actual number was 43,181, a discrepancy of 22,780 or 53%.

In Cavan/Monaghan, the figures were 86,844 breath tests but 58,555 in reality, a discrepancy of 28,289 or 48%.

And in the Donegal division, there was 128,666 breath tests on the PULSE system but 79,899 actual tests carried out, a discrepancy of 61%.

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

In a statement issued following the publication of the report, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, said the figures are a concern.

“I am greatly disturbed by the findings,” he said.