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Concern over road safety impact of licensing law changes

The Department of Transport has said it will raise with the Department of Justice concerns about the impact proposed changes to licensing laws could have on road safety.

It follows correspondence from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to Minister of State Jack Chambers in relation to the Sale of Alcohol Bill.

RSA Chair Liz O’Donnell wrote to the minister at the end of January, detailing her concerns about the possible implications of longer pub and nightclub opening hours on driver behaviour.

Details of the correspondence were reported in today’s Irish Examiner.

Among the proposals in the bill are plans to allow late bars and nightclubs to open for longer.

It is understood the RSA is worried that such an extension would increase the risk of drink driving, with the associated injuries and fatalities that can result from this.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport said the RSA concerns would be brought to the attention of Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and her department, as part of ongoing work around the issue of road safety.

They said the implications of any new legislation would need to be “considered holistically and in an evidence based manner”.

Minister Chambers has committed to bring the RSA correspondence to the attention of the Road Safety Transformation Partnership Board and the Ministerial Committee on Road Safety.

The department said the authority is represented at both forums and can also raise its concerns directly.

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