Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Martin Kenny TD, has said that a failure to properly resource Garda roads-policing units will see the number of collisions, fatalities, life-changing injuries will continue to increase.
The Sligo-Leitrim TD praised the work of An Garda Síochána for their efforts at keeping our roads safe over the Bank Holiday but said the government must do more to reduce the trend of increased collisions, fatalities and life-changing injuries.
Teachta Kenny said:
“I want to acknowledge the hard work by An Garda Síochána in keeping our roads safe, particularly over a very busy and challenging Bank Holiday weekend.
“The fact that 56 people have been arrested over the space of one 24-hour period alone on suspicion of driving under the influence of drink or drugs shows that when resources are in place, those who put themselves and other road-users in danger can be caught and brought to justice.
“But my fear is that figure is only the tip of the iceberg. We have seen Garda numbers reduce across the board and many communities are feeling the impact of that but we are particularly seeing it when it comes to policing our roads.
“Sadly, 155 lives have been lost on our roads this year which is the same number lost for the entirety of last year.
“We have a rising number of fatalities on our roads, more collisions, busier roads, yet the number of Gardaí assigned to police and monitor our roads are only a fraction of what they once were.
“There were 1046 Gardaí working in our roads-policing units in 2009 but last month that figure had fallen as low as 655.
“The government is discussing introducing new road safety legislation, and I of course accept that improved legislation may be needed.
“But we need to get real here if we want to be serious about road safety. The biggest impediment to reducing the number of deaths on our roads is the failure to adequately resource roads-policing units.
“Unless we adequately resource our roads-policing units to detect people speeding, drink-driving, drug-driving or using their phones while driving, the number of collisions, fatalities, life-changing injuries will continue to increase.
“There need to be genuine deterrents and penalties for those who put themselves and other road-users at risk. That will not happen without properly-resourced road policing units.”