Monday 18 December 2017

Gardai insist they have the resources needed to combat dangerous driving

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

ONE of the country's highest-ranking gardai has insisted the force has the numbers needed to combat dangerous driving.

Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips, who is in charge of the Traffic Corps, said that while overall garda numbers were down, extra resources were being put in place to combat driving offences.

He was responding to Road Safety Authority (RSA) chairman Gay Byrne who told this newspaper earlier this week that lower garda numbers had resulted in people taking chances on the roads.

A survey by the AA found 72pc of motorists believe the number of gardai on the roads has fallen, with 40pc believing road safety isn't a priority.

But the assistant commission said reducing the number of deaths on the road was a priority, and that enforcement would be ramped up.

"The numbers have come down over the years. Gardai are out and about and enforcement will be very strict for June and the rest of the year," he said.

"We have the resources, and we are dealing with it. Nobody will say they do not need more officers. Each region has extra people out to enforce traffic, we take it very seriously.

He was speaking at the launch of a new road safety initiative targeting tourists, which involves providing booklets with key road safety message into some 18,000 rental cars.

RSA chief executive Noel Brett said the guide would help reduce collisions involving tourists. Some 22 people have died since 2009.

He also warned that there could be a spike in fatalities.

"It's important we get back to that old-fashioned fear of detection," he said.

"We don't want to see huge numbers of people being caught. But it's critical none of us get complacent."

Separately, junior tourism minister Michael Ring said gardai should not be allowed exercise discretion for offences.

Mr Ring said: "Whoever gets the points, should take the points. There should be no discretion. You're either within the law or not."

Irish Independent

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