Road safety watchdog concerned over Garda ‘downgrading of road safety’

Road safety watchdog concerned over Garda 'downgrading of road safety'

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has called for an urgent meeting with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris over what it views as the “downgrading of road safety” in his restructuring plans.

Mr Harris yesterday revealed his proposed new operating model for An Garda Síochána, implementing key recommendations made by the Garda Inspectorate in 2015.

However, the roads safety watchdog has warned that it believes the restructuring will lead to “effectively the downgrading of road safety within the policing function, as it omits roads policing as one of the four key focus areas called out at an operational level”.

It noted that it has already faced challenges from “consistent under-resourcing and lack of strategic leadership and oversight” in the years since its establishment in 2006.

In a statement, the RSA said: “These new organisational changes appear to signify a disappointing demotion and devaluing of roads policing and related road safety. The RSA has written to voice its concerns to Commissioner Harris in this regard.

“These changes in roads policing risk unravelling much of the success Ireland has achieved in terms of reducing road fatalities and serious injuries on our roads and are counterproductive to the objectives of the Government Road Safety Strategy.

“The RSA has sought an urgent meeting with Commissioner Harris on foot of the concerns of the Board and the Executive of the RSA.”

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