2018 News

18 September 2018

RSA Chairperson & CEO Meet with new Garda Commissioner

  • Chair and CEO welcome Commissioner’s commitment to road safety
  • Commissioner urged to address resourcing of Garda Roads Policing Units
  • Ask for greater focus on targeted enforcement during key times linked to killer behaviours
  • Invest in technology to aid greater levels of enforcement

The Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) Ms. Liz O’Donnell and Chief Executive Ms. Moyagh Murdock, have described their meeting this week with the new Garda Commissioner Mr. Drew Harris, as positive and constructive.

Speaking after the meeting Ms O’Donnell said “the new Commissioner is taking up his responsibilities at a time of reform and transformation of the Force. We were delighted to have been invited to meet with him so soon after his appointment. I sought his personal commitment as Commissioner to improve road safety measures and enforcement so as to reduce road deaths and serious injuries. The meeting was positive and provided the RSA with an early opportunity to brief the Commissioner on the Government’s Road Safety Strategy and the challenges faced in achieving the reduction in road deaths and injuries set out in the Strategy by 2020. While Ireland has seen real improvements in road safety over the past 2 decades, too many lives are needlessly lost and it still boils down to the same killer behaviours of drink-driving, speeding, no seatbelts, and mobile phone use. The Commissioner discussed a number of potential initiatives that could be considered on top of the current ongoing and planned activities and has offered his full personal support for new campaigns”.

The Chairperson highlighted the good working relationship that exists between the Gardaí and the RSA but also took the opportunity to raise her concerns on a number of critical issues, the most important of which is the slow pace in resourcing the Garda Roads Policing Units around the country.

“It was important too for us to make the point that the most effective measure to change attitudes and improve driver behaviour is by having visible targeted Garda enforcement. In order to do this, the significant decline in Roads Policing resources seen over the past 5 years must be addressed. We expressed our concern at the slow pace of progress in reaching the targets only recently committed by An Garda Siochána as part of the Road Safety Strategy.”

“There were 71 homicides recorded in 2017, but over twice this number, 157 people, were killed in fatal road traffic collisions in the same year. The majority of these road deaths were preventable and we emphasised that high levels of visible enforcement is the most important tool in preventing such loss of life.” Said Ms. O’Donnell.

“The Commissioner acknowledged the fact that there had been no additions to the Roads Policing Unit in 2017, he assured me that this is being addressed with the recruitment campaigns currently ongoing at all levels within the organisation and he described the keen interest and high level of applications to move into the area of Roads Policing as very encouraging”.

She added that “we also highlighted the disproportionate number of road deaths at weekends particularly at night time versus the volume of traffic on the roads and raised the need for more active enforcement of killer road user behaviours at these times, particularly at locations identified by road crash data”.

The Chairperson also expressed the need for greater emphasis and investment on the use of handheld technology and analytical tools to strengthen the effectiveness of enforcement activity of the Roads Policing Unit. 

Concluding, Ms O’Donnell said “we found the meeting with the Commissioner very productive and clearly demonstrates to us the importance he places on road safety and the issues we raised. We very much look forward to working collaboratively with the new Commissioner to achieve the Government’s Road Safety Strategy target of 124 deaths or fewer by 2020.”

Editors Notes;

The mid-term review of the Government Road Safety Strategy 2013 to 2020 set a number of new priority actions. The most important was assigned to and agreed by An Garda Síochána. This is to increase garda numbers in the Road Policing Unit, from a base level of 681 members, by 10% year on year up to 2020 (749 in 2017, 824 in 2018, 906 in 2019 and 997 in 2020) or further should targets in road safety not be achieved. The targeted deployment of these resources is to be informed by research

There was no allocation of additional Gardai made to the Roads Policing Unit in 2017. This year the Gardai have said that 150 Gardai will be joining the Roads Policing Unit bringing the total number of Gardaí in Roads Policing to over 700 (87 have already joined with a further 63 joining in October). Despite this increase it is unlikely that the commitment made under the Government Road Safety Strategy (mid-year review) of having 824 members in the Policing Unit by 2018 will be achieved.

The Government’s Road Safety Strategy 2013 to 2020 has set a target of 124 deaths or fewer by 2020.




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