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Why we should listen to Gaybo

GAY Byrne has been an unqualified success as chairman of the Road Safety Authority. He knows his stuff. He speaks firmly and persuasively.

It is good news that he has agreed to take on another stint in the job.

Under his chairmanship, road deaths have fallen sharply. Once we had one of the worst records in this regard in Western Europe; now we have one of the best. Mr Byrne has far too much sense to claim all the credit, but the record means that he can, and does, speak with exceptional authority.

And he certainly should get a very focused and serious hearing for the thoughts he expresses in his article in this newspaper today.

The numbers of the Garda Traffic Corps, he writes, have been cut from 1,250 to about 900.

Garda motorbikes are being scrapped because they have outlived their useful "life" of 300,000 miles. There is no money to buy new machines.

Meanwhile, in his opinion, official propaganda has failed to "get through" to male drivers aged 17 to 24. The phenomenon is all too well known, and the remedy -- at least a partial remedy -- easily identified.

Young men think themselves invulnerable, and never more so than when they hold the reins of a horse or the wheel of a car.

No police force on earth can change the laws of nature. But it can enforce the laws of the land. For that, it needs numbers.

The Garda Siochana needs a powerful and highly visible presence. It must have it.

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