Garda reform ‘to hurt policing of roads’

Garda reform ‘to hurt policing of roads’
File image

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has sought an urgent meeting with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris after stating it is “very concerned” restructuring of his force will reduce the focus on operations designed to ensure the country’s roads are as safe as possible.

The RSA said while it welcomed the promise that restructuring will increase the number of frontline gardaí, it remains worried for the roads policing function within the new structure and the implications for road safety.

The RSA said it views the proposed restructuring as effectively downgrading road safety within the policing function as its omits roads policing as one of the four key focus areas at an operational level.

In a statement, the RSA claimed these new organisational changes appear to “signify a disappointing demotion and devaluing of roads policing and related road safety”.

The organisation has written to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to voice its concerns, claiming changes in roads policing “risk unravelling much of the success Ireland has achieved in terms of reducing road fatalities and serious injuries”.

The RSA pointed out that the roads policing unit has faced significant challenges in recent years due to consistent under-resourcing and lack of strategic leadership and oversight. However, it said in spite of the failures of the past, the service being provided by the unit has saved many lives over the past decade and last year was the safest on record.

The statement added:

We welcome the comments from Commissioner Harris that the plan is not set in stone and that he will be seeking feedback from various parties on the merits of the initial proposal

Meanwhile, a report compiled by the RSA has broadly come down in favour of allowing e-scooters to be used on Irish roads under licence. However, it has also stated there should be strict conditions attached to the licensing including speed limits.

The report, which was commissioned by the Government, has been submitted to the minister for transport, Shane Ross on June 22 last and it is believed he will shortly announce a public consultation on it.

It’s understood this public consultation will start in early September and continue until the end of October. Gardaí have expressed disquiet at legalising e-scooters, believing them to be potentially dangerous and a risk to their users, cyclists and pedestrians.

As e-scooters are not regulated in Ireland their current use is regarded as illegal. The RSA report followed research it completed in other European countries where the use of e-scooters is legal.

The report found a wide range of differences across EU states with some allowing them with no legislation. Dublin Chamber has opposed licensing e-scooters, pointing out this could be a barrier to take-up.

More on this topic

Call for more spend on community policing under Garda reformsCall for more spend on community policing under Garda reforms

The day of reckoning has arrived: Garda reform must be supportedThe day of reckoning has arrived: Garda reform must be supported

Garda division mergers ‘a total disaster’Garda division mergers ‘a total disaster’

Drew Harris: Urgent meeting on Garda reformsDrew Harris: Urgent meeting on Garda reforms


More in this Section

Someone is €500,000 richer after winning EuroMillions Plus drawSomeone is €500,000 richer after winning EuroMillions Plus draw

Could robots steal our hearts as well as our jobs?Could robots steal our hearts as well as our jobs?

Missing woman forest search finds ‘nothing of significance’Missing woman forest search finds ‘nothing of significance’

Lunney family endured ‘week from hell’ after Quinn executive abducted and attackedLunney family endured ‘week from hell’ after Quinn executive abducted and attacked


Lifestyle

Against popular wisdom and flying a plane made from bamboo, wire and bike handlebars, a Co Antrim woman blazed a sky trail for aviation and for the independence of women, writes Bette BrowneMagnificent Lilian Bland blazed a trail for independence of women in her plane of bamboo

The epic battle for the bridge at Arnhem, as depicted in the blockbuster 'A Bridge Too Far', saw the Allies aim to end the war by Christmas 1944, but failed as a huge airborne assault force failed to take the last bridge across the Rhine. In an extract from his latest book 'A Bloody Week', Dan Harvey tells the story of one of the hundreds of brave men from Ireland who gave their all to the Allied campaignThe bridge to war: Dan Harvey's new book looks at the Irish who went a bridge too far

More From The Irish Examiner