'Joe Public is feeling persecuted' - Minister criticises early morning Garda checkpoints

'Joe Public is feeling persecuted' - Minister criticises early morning Garda checkpoints

Minister of State for Natural Resources, Community Affairs and Digital Development, Sean Canney has said Gardaí should concentrate on other illegal activities rather than focussing on early morning checkpoints to detect drink driving.

There needs to be a balance, he told Newstalk Breakfast.

Mr Canney said: “Joe Public is feeling persecuted. The ordinary person going to work is being pulled in. It is a challenge getting to work with the traffic as it is without having garda checkpoints. It is annoying.”

People feel they are being “trodden upon”, he added.

Mr Canney was adamant that he did not condone drink driving, saying: “I do not support anyone who gets behind the wheel with drink taken, but there has been a huge increase in the number of checkpoints in the mornings.”

He said there needs to be more balance and that Gardaí need to step up prevention and detection for other crimes such as illegal dumping and drugs. He called for more Gardaí to be on duty outside schools to stop drug dealing.

“There is a huge problem with illegal dumping, it seems to be going undetected. People are saying the Gardaí need to keep a balance on what they are doing.”

The Minister of State said that Gardaí have been “racking up the amount of checkpoints” they have in the mornings which is having an impact on people “trying to go about their daily lives at a time of day when they’re trying to bring their children to school.

“I don’t know anyone who would drive their children to school while drunk.”

"There needs to be a concentration on other illegal activities," he said.

When asked if he blamed Minister for Transport Shane Ross for this escalation in Garda activity, Mr Canney said: “Shane Ross is not the Minister responsible, it is the Gardaí.”

He said action is needed on all fronts, adding: “I’d like to see Gardaí on the beat preventing rather than detecting.”

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