Road Safety Authority chair wants greater Garda traffic resources

Number of children who died on Irish roads last year double that recorded in 2013

Road Safety Authority chairwoman Liz O’Donnell has insisted she enjoys a good working relationship with Garda management despite criticisms by her predecessor Gay Byrne about  inadequate traffic enforcement levels. Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times.

Road Safety Authority chairwoman Liz O’Donnell has insisted she enjoys a good working relationship with Garda management despite criticisms by her predecessor Gay Byrne about inadequate traffic enforcement levels. Photograph; Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times.

 

Road Safety Authority chairwoman Liz O’Donnell has insisted she enjoys a good working relationship with Garda management despite criticisms by her predecessor Gay Byrne of the force over inadequate traffic enforcement levels.

Before his his resignation last year, Byrne spoke of his dismay regarding the reduction in resource and personnel allocations for the Garda Traffic Corps during his stewardship of the authority.

Ms O’Donnell, a former Progressive Democrat minister, said she has not endured any fraught relations since the beginning of her tenure as head of the authority last October but echoed calls for increased provisions for road safety enforcement.

“I’ve had very good meetings so far, I met the new Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan two weeks ago in Ballina when she came to visit our facilities,” she said. “I myself know Nóirín O’Sullivan from my previous life as a politician. We have good working relations so I’m hopeful that, as resources permit, we will be able to build the Garda Traffic Corps back up to the figures that we had before the recession.”

Ms O’Donnell said she had spoken to Byrne, who chaired the authority for eight years, about her new role, and described the broadcaster as a “tough act to follow”.

Road deaths and collisions are down compared to this time last year but Ms O’Donnell reiterated calls for road users to stay safe over St Patrick’s Day following two fatalities in separate crashes on Saturday morning.

She was speaking at an awards ceremony held for first and second class students across the country who participated in the ‘Seatbelt Sheriff’ and ‘Hi Glo Silver’ drawing competitions.

Children from Barryroe National School in Bandon, Co Cork took first prize for their ‘Cross your belt, not your fingers’ message, while pupils from Scoil Mhuire in Limerick were also honoured for their high-viz promotion poster ‘Now you see me, now you don’t’.

“The idea is to allow children to be advocates for road safety, and we all know how persuasive children are,” said Ms O’Donnell.

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