A CRUSADING former garda determined to highlight speed traps designed to "shoot fish in a barrel" said he was harassed by gardaí who demanded his video camera and driving licence.
Pensioner Frank Cullinane (68) – who served as a garda in Dublin for 30 years and now runs the Glasnevin School of Motoring with his wife – said he was angered by gardaí who parked their infamous gatso van beside a dual carriageway with a 50km speed limit.
The driving instructor decided to video the speed trap to prove his point to senior gardaí, but said he was told he needed permission to do so, even though it was on a public road.
"It's absolutely terrible. I saw loads of people getting caught," he told the Sunday Tribune after the incident nine days ago.
"It's totally unacceptable. I think it's a quota system and I think they are short."
Cullinane, a published author on road safety, was angered by the appearance of the van on a stretch of the Ballymun Road near Dublin City University.
He decided to return to his Glasnevin home to collect his video camera in order to illustrate his complaint to senior traffic gardaí.
"It is the speed limit that is wrong on this road, not the drivers," he said.
"I was in contact with the police on this matter on previous occasions. I got out of the car and videoed the van as in my opinion it is unfair to prosecute motorists travelling on a three-lane dual carriageway with three-metre wide lanes."
But when he approached the vehicle to film its identification number, he said he was approached by a non-uniform guard who had been inside.
"I videoed it from across the road. I went over to get the number from the van and at that stage the guard got out and he said 'what are you doing there?'
"I said 'I'm videoing'. He said 'why are you videoing my van, give me that camera' and I said I wouldn't. Then he asked me for my name and address and my driver's licence."
Cullinane said he gave the guard his driver's licence but was then concerned the guard was calling his station colleagues and decided to leave.
"As he was working on a mobile telephone I left the scene in case he was getting local guards to arrest me and seize the camera," he said. Gardaí later arrived at the man's house to return the licence.
Cullinane is concerned that people could be unfairly landed with penalty points in a relatively safe motor zone, and some people could even lose employment as a result. "Young people who get penalty points will be unable to get insurance or employment in the current climate," he said.
A spokesman in the Garda press office said that while they could not comment on the matter, members of the public are entitled to make formal complaints about such incidents to the Garda Ombudsman.