Fears road deaths rose as traffic corps cut
Garda supervisors have called on acting Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan to find out if there is a link between a rise in road deaths and a big reduction in the traffic corps numbers.
And if a connection is established, they want the commissioner to take immediate action to tackle the problem of falling numbers deployed on traffic duties.
The annual conference of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors in Killarney, Co Kerry, was told that the traffic corps numbers have fallen from 1,200 to 800 in the past year.
Mayo delegate Gerard Flannery yesterday said that in his division the numbers had dropped from five sergeants and 22 gardai, based in two centres, to two sergeants and nine gardai located at divisional headquarters in Castlebar.
He blamed the falling numbers on retirements, transfers, a small number of promotions and the embargo on recruitment over the past five years.
Mr Flannery said an in-depth study must be carried out to determine if the falling numbers was a factor in the increase in road fatalities.
He said the motion had been tabled as a result of last year's total of 193 fatal accidents, compared with a record low of 162 in 2012.
Meanwhile, the Road Safety Authority asked motorists to slow down over the Easter bank holiday.
While Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, who is in charge of the national traffic bureau, said three lives had been lost on the roads during the same period last year.