Emergency legislation closes drink-driving law loophole

Transport minister Paschal Donohoe TD
Transport minister Paschal Donohoe TD

Transport minister Paschal Donohoe TD has signed a piece of emergency drink-driving legislation closing a legal loophole identified by the High Court.

The High Court ruled yesterday that a breathalyser test result is not valid unless the statement is issued by the breathalysing machine in both the English and Irish languages.

The Evidenzer machines in garda stations are typically only used to issue statements in English.

The High Court’s interpretation of the Prescribed Form and Manner of Statements Regulations 2011 led to urgent efforts to modify the law.

Mr Donohoe said today: ”The advice of the Attorney General’s Office was sought in respect of the need for amending legislation on foot of the judgement in relation to the language of the forms produced by Evidential Breath Testing machines in Garda stations.

“In the interests of road safety, I have moved immediately to provide the new legislation deemed necessary regarding the form of the statements to be provided under section 13 of the Road Traffic Act 2010.”

Mr Donohoe has now signed a replacement Statutory Instrument into law which provides that the statements may be produced in either English or Irish, which a spokesperson said was the objective of the original legislation.

The Government of Ireland is awaiting figures from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and An Garda Síochána on how many cases have been affected by the ruling.