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Ryan to seek clarity on garda road safety work proposals

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said he will be asking Garda Commissioner Drew Harris how his proposals for uniformed gardaí to carry out 30 minutes of traffic enforcement per shift will work.

Commissioner Harris announced the move last week, saying that given the rise in fatal road traffic collisions, the force must continue to adapt its policing initiatives to increase safety on Irish roads.

Asked on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland how he believed this would work, Mr Ryan said: “That is one of the things I will be asking the Garda Commissioner when I meet him today”.

He added: “I think we do need increased numbers in An Garda Síochána working on traffic policing, we do need more enforcement and more resources directed to that.”

The Green Party leader added that new stricter penalties have been introduced to ensure that motorists face harsher penalties if they are caught “misbehaving”, adding that councillors will examine proposed changes to speed limits after the local elections.

He said the Government always said these changes would take place by the end of this year, and they will be delivered in that timeframe.

“You’d always want to try and change everything immediately but changing every single road sign, changing every single road and all the traffic arrangements around that does take time, but we will do it this year,” he said.

Eamon Ryan said planned changes to speed limits should be in place by the end of the year (file image)

He added: “We will introduce three of those new average speed cameras on the road network later this year.”

Mr Ryan also said he thinks the Road Safety Authority needs to improve, and that a widespread review of it is under way.

He added that the RSA also needs the necessary staff, resources and remit to operate fully.

“We’re in the middle of this review so we can update, modernise and give it all the resources it needs so that it can do its job.”

Mr Ryan said this was not a criticism of the individuals who work at the RSA, but that the organisation needs assistance to do its work.

“I think it needs to improve and I think we need to help it improve and make sure it has the resources and it has the necessary staff and it has the remit. You can never be satisfied.

“At a time when road deaths are increasing, you could never be satisfied. It’s not a criticism in any way of the existing individuals or the organisation.”

Mr Ryan aid that it is essential to bring the number of road deaths down and reduce the number of serious injuries on Irish roads, adding that around €937m will be spent this year on road maintenance and upkeep.

He said road authorities are being asked to keep a particular focus on where accidents have occurred and spend money there on improvements.

“There some 60 examples this year, where we’ve asked the roads authorities, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and the local authorities, where are the black spots, and those projects will be built and will be tackled this year,” he said.


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