Tuesday 15 October 2019

Gardaí hope to have 200 more officers policing roads as deaths and traffic offences continue to rise

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Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

Garda management hope to increase the number of officers dealing specifically with roads policing by 200 personnel this year as deaths on Irish roads continue to rise.

Senior gardai have also said that 'key life saver' offences, such as drink driving and speeding, have increased significantly in the first three months of this year compared to 2018.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Dave Sheehan, in charge of the Roads Policing and Major Events, told the Policing Authority that competitions will take place to increase the number of road traffic gardai by some 200 this year.

He added that there "is no point of even applying" for gardai who have not yet signed the code of ethics, which is close to 4,000 or a third of the force.

While detection for traffic offences have increased, the number of road fatalities has also risen so far in 2019 compared to the same period last year.

Asst Comm Sheehan said that mobile phone use while driving has increased by 24pc in the first quarter of this year, an increase of around 1,000 detections, while seatbelt offences are up by 46pc and speeding intercepts by gardai have doubled.

The number of drink driving offences have also risen by 18pc, but despite more garda activity, 51 people have lost their lives on Irish roads so far this year, an increase of five from the same period last year.

"We have a competition for 200 this year, whether we'll reach 200 is debatable as we move forward. The plan is that there will be 200 extra garda going into (Roads Policing) but that will be measured against the number we can bring in to the organisation, there were only 600 new people coming into the organisation this year," Asst Comm Sheehan said.

The senior garda also said that the increase in road offences may be driven by the upturn in the economy and people "taking a chance", and said the pilot role out of the Activity Mobile app has significantly assisted roads policing gardai.

The meeting of the Policing Authority is taking place this afternoon in Dublin Castle, and is being attended by a number of senior garda management including Commissioenr Drew Harris.

The items on the agenda included roads policing, warrant management and the Commissioner's monthly report to the Policing Authority.

Chair Josephine Feehily commended the Commissioner on a recent garda success in relation to a human trafficking investigation. Earlier this week two women were arrested as part of an operation in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.

Ms Feehily also congratulated Drew Harris on "enhancing the attractiveness" of An Garda Siochana from a diversity point of view following the new recruitment campaign.

A man in his 50s was killed in a road collision on the N24 - the second fatal crash on the road in Tipperary this week.

The collision occurred on the N24 near the 'Bulmers' factory at Killaloan Lower outside Clonmel Town at approximately 11pm on Wednesday night.

Gardai have appealed for witnesses after a male driver (50s) was fatally injured when he collided with a truck.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and brought to South Tipperary General Hospital where a full post-mortem is due to take place.

The driver of the truck was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

The N24 is closed in both directions between Moangarrif R/A and Kilsheelan until further notice.

Diversions are in place but AA Roadwatch have advised motorists to use an alternative route. 

Gardaí are seeking anyone with information or anyone who was travelling the N24 Killaloan Lower outside Clonmel at the time of the Collison to contact Clonmel Garda Station on 052 6177640, the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Separately, a 21-year-old man died when his car collided with a truck on the N24 at Ballingarrane on Monday night.

The young man, from the village of Clerihan near Clonmel, was named locally as Jake Anderson.

Clonmel mayor Richie Molloy previously expressed his condolences. 

“The town is very shocked to hear that someone so young has died,” he told Independent.ie.

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