One person arrested every hour for intoxicated driving during May bank holiday operation

Garda detected more than 900 drivers speeding over a weekend in which one teenager died and 10 suffered serious injuries

One person died and 10 received serious, life-threatening injuries in collisions over the May Bank Holiday weekend, gardaí have said.

To date 71 people have been killed in road crashes in 2024, 15 more than for the same period last year.

The teenage girl who died in Co Wicklow has been named locally as Molly Dempsey. Ms Dempsey (15) died after the car in which she was travelling as a passenger crashed shortly before 5am on Sunday at Slaney Park in Baltinglass. Gardaí said no other serious injuries were reported.

Tributes have been paid on social media, with friends describing “the many laughs and smiles” Ms Dempsey brought to people, and that she was “the most loving, caring and kind person”.


The driver of the car, a male in his teens, was arrested on suspicion of offences under the Road Traffic Act. He was detained under the provisions of section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984 and later released. Gardaí said investigations were ongoing and that a file would be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Gardaí separately outlined the outcome of the dedicated bank holiday roads policing programme between last Thursday and 7am on Tuesday.

Gardaí detected more than 900 drivers speeding, including one driver travelling at 127km/h in a 60km/h zone on the R188 near Doocassan, Co Cavan, another driving 136km/h in an 80km/h zone along the R731 at Rathnure, Co. Wexford and another driving 153km/h in a 100km/h zone on the N11 Newcastle, Co. Wicklow.

Over that time 196 people were also arrested for driving under the influence of an intoxicant, an average of one per hour for the duration of the enforcement operation.

More than 1,090 mandatory intoxicant testing (MIT) checkpoints were established, during which 5,349 roadside drug and alcohol tests were carried out.

Other key statistics issued by the Garda on Tuesday included more than 220 fines for drivers using mobile phones, more than 100 for the non-wearing of seat belts and 170 for learner drivers travelling unaccompanied.

Gardaí also seized a total 613 vehicles for a range of road traffic offences under Section 41 of the Roads Traffic Act.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times