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Traffic Corps cuts are completely crazy

IT'S all a bit Irish.

In fact, you couldn't make this up -- but I tend to say that a bit when it comes to this Government.

Just when we get a grip on our shocking level of road deaths the Department of Justice has proposed breaking up the Garda Traffic Corps.

Such a move risks undoing a decade of solid work by garda and road safety groups.

This work has seen road deaths here likely to come in under 200 for 2011.

That's the lowest level since records began in 1959. But instead of maintaining policing levels members of the Traffic Corps will instead be shifted into other areas of the force, where vacancies have been unfilled due to cutbacks.


Like everyone else in the country, I am painfully aware of the ceaseless quest by Government ministers for cutbacks.

The Justice Minister has already shown an exceptional zeal in this regard, especially in relation to funding gardai.

Garda numbers have plummeted to their lowest in years, and they are expected to fall further with a public moratorium. The savage cuts will seriously degrade the effectiveness of the force to carry out their core functions and duties.

The Traffic Corps cut is the latest, and possibly dumbest proposal, by the minister.

It's rightly been branded madcap by road safety czar Gay Byrne.

Up to a few short years ago we had the unenviable reputation for having one of the highest road fatality rates in Europe.

Now we are one of the safest -- up there with Sweden as having the safest drivers.

But one of the reasons for our changed behaviour is our fear of getting caught if we break the rules of the road.

Without a Traffic Corps to implement the law the bad habits may well return.


If the corps is broken up, we will see a rise in road deaths again.

If you have to make cutbacks the last place they should occur is to an organisation that is saving literally hundreds of lives a year.

But that would be common sense. Something that's sadly lacking in Leinster House.