Catherine Murphy TD

A Government proposal to increase penalty points for motorists on bank holiday weekends should not be a substitute for high visibility policing and enhanced enforcement of road traffic legislation, according to Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.

Deputy Murphy, who is the party’s spokesperson on justice, said:

“In response to the worrying rise in road deaths this year, the Government is considering the introduction of emergency legislation, which would include the imposition of additional penalty points on bank holiday weekends for speeding and other motoring offences.

“However, based on recent garda figures, I am not convinced that this is where the Government’s focus should be. We learned this week that the number of gardaí assigned to roads policing is now 659 nationally, down from 692 at the end of 2022 – the lowest level since 2017.

“Of equal concern is the fact that the number of drink-driving tests conducted at garda checkpoints is now more than half that of pre-pandemic levels.

“Last month, an additional €1.2 million was provided to increase monitoring by GoSafe vehicles by 20 per cent, or 1,500 hours per month, by the end of this year. It is this type of investment, along with increased garda visibility and enforcement, that will help change driver behaviour and reduce carnage on our roads.

“As a priority, the Minister for Justice must engage with the Garda Commissioner to ensure there are sufficient numbers deployed for road traffic policing. A properly resourced, consistent traffic corps presence will be far more effective than unnecessary legislation to increase penalty points on bank holiday weekends.”

October 17, 2023

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