Recent news has led to a landmark decision by Justice Minister Alan Shatter to "return to a level of fairness". He has declared that the application of two penalty points will now be imposed on every driver's licence in the state. Fianna Fail leader Meeehaawwwwl Martin claims that the decision is unfair on people living in urban centres - where the likelihood of being caught speeding, for instance, is higher - and would mean further penalties.
The Fianna Fail leader also claims that those who already have had penalty points imposed - which are distributed arbitrarily on the whims of members of An Garda Siochána - are being unfairly targeted in the new legislation. There are others who feel that they cannot afford to have penalty points added to their licence at all, as it will drive up other costs, such as insurance.
Critics have voiced objections over the blanket imposition, with many claiming that there have been numerous new taxes already introduced in the last two years. The recent controversies have also led to the involvement of the Data Protection Commissioner. Agnes O'Rourke, 52, of Cahirsifelt, on the outskirts of Fitzwilliamstown-ghost-estate, in Catturnuck, Focker, County Leitrim, says that last year Gardai imposed a stealth fine when she found a warning from the Garda Computer Forensics Squad on her home computer. The message informed her that she had downloaded illegal images, and she was forced to enter her credit card details - and pay hundreds of euros in punitive fees - in order to regain access to her own hardware.
"That fucken laptop hasn't been the fucken same since," she insisted. "It's a fucken disgrace. I've got a fucken son doin' the fucken Leaving Cert here! Can't get fucken access to the fucken Web on the fucken piece of fucken shit - for fuck's sake! Leaving Cert's fucken coming up now in less than two fucken weeks! Fucken shittin' it, he is - coz he can't fucken get fucken online to study his fucken Shakespeare!"