Sunday 15 December 2019

Just nine motorists over legal limit in drink-drive clampdown

A garda checkpoint
A garda checkpoint

Sam Griffin

ONLY nine out of more than 1,600 drivers alcohol tested as part of a major garda clampdown this Easter weekend were over the limit.

The tests were part of Operation Surround, a special garda initiative, which targeted drink driving in selected towns and locations around the country simultaneously for an hour-long period in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Mandatory Alcohol Testing (MAT) checkpoints were established in access routes around selected towns, which made it virtually impossible to access towns without being tested.

In total, some 1,613 motorists were tested as part of Operation Surround between 12.30am and 1.30am yesterday morning.

Only nine drivers tested positive for being over the limit and were subsequently arrested and taken to a garda station for further testing.

Seven of the arrested drivers tested positive again in subsequent testing. One driver was found to be under the limit while the remaining driver refused to be tested at the station.

The MAT checkpoints were established in 10 counties across the country with a number of towns selected in Dublin and Cork. Other towns that come under examination were Donegal, Cavan, Sligo, Drogheda and Kilkenny city.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John Twomey said the operation was part of a wider clampdown on those driving while under the influence of alcohol.

"Drink driving is totally unacceptable and we will continue to intensively target these selfish drivers who think that it won't affect their, or others', safety on the road," he said.

Meanwhile, a woman was killed and a cyclist was seriously injured in separate road accidents over the Easter weekend.

Gardai in New Ross have arrested a man following a road crash where a car struck a wall on Harvey Place in the town around 7pm on Saturday night.


The vehicle's only passenger, Ellen Doran (63), known locally as Joan 'Nelly' Berry, from New Ross, was fatally injured.

She was pronounced dead at the scene and her body was taken to Wexford General Hospital where a post-mortem will take place.

Family relative John Goggins said all the family were struggling with the "very sad news".

Town Councillor Victor Furness said she was well-regarded.

"My sympathies to all concerned. It's a tragic thing to happen," he told the Irish Independent.

The male driver, aged 59, was brought to Wexford General Hospital with non-serious injuries.

A man was arrested on Saturday in connection with the investigation into the crash but was subsequently released without charge.

Gardai are appealing for witnesses to contact them at New Ross garda station or on the garda confidential hotline.

Elsewhere, a 35-year-old male cyclist suffered serious injuries in a Dublin city-centre collision. It involved a car on the junction of Gardiner St and Sean McDermott St yesterday afternoon around 4pm.

The cyclist was rushed to the Mater Hospital where his condition was described as very serious, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Gardai from Store Street have appealed for information.

Meanwhile, the funeral for tragic four-year-old Ciaran Treacy, who died in a car crash near his home in Portarlington, will take place this afternoon at 12pm in St Michael's Church in the Co Laois town.

Irish Independent

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