Bank holiday speed limits will be enforced despite GoSafe strike, say gardaí

Gardaí report ‘dramatic growth’ in number of young people caught for drink-driving

Gardaí say they will be out in force to enforce speed limits over the bank holiday weekend. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Gardaí say they will be out in force to enforce speed limits over the bank holiday weekend. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Gardaí say speed limits will be enforced over the bank holiday weekend despite a planned strike by staff at the company that operates the State’s roadside speed camera system.

The trade union Siptu said that a planned 72-hour work stoppage by its members at Go Safe would commence at 9.00 a.m. on Saturday 26th October, in a dispute related to working conditions and union recognition at the company.

GoSafe said on Thursday that safety cameras would continue to be operational throughout the weekend.

“We have moved early to ensure disruption caused by Siptu’s action will be minimised,” it said.

The planned stoppage coincides with the Garda’s annual October bank holiday weekend crackdown on speeding.

Chief Supt Paul Cleary of the roads policing section said gardaí will be out in force on all of the main routes, starting on Friday night. Regional divisions have been briefed on the need to provide cover for speed camera operators.

He said gardaí would be targeting in particular the younger cohort of male motorists who were more likely to be involved in collisions.

There had been, he said, a “dramatic growth” in the number of young people being caught for drink-driving. “It is a worry for us and it is growing,” he said.

Gardaí have operated 47,000 checkpoints over the last year and the number of motorists who have been caught for driving under the influence has increased by 6 per cent, from 5,719 between January and August 2018 to 6,041 in the same time period in 2019.

The number of motorists caught speeding has increased by 12 per cent to 96,000 in the same time period and the number caught using a mobile phone has increased by 8 per cent.

Management at Go Safe said on Thursday that it had reached a proposed agreement with its internal staff representative body on pay and rosters.

However Siptu said the proposed agreement between Go Safe and the internal representative association at the company had nothing to do with the union. It said the planned stoppage would go ahead.

Siptu has urged management at GoSafe to adhere to a Labour Court recommendation stating that the company should recognise the union as the representative of its employees who are members and negotiate with it to resolve their legitimate concerns about conditions.

GoSafe management for many years has engaged with an internal staff representative body.

However it is understood that earlier this year it suggested -- through its representatives, the employers’ group Ibec -- that there could be exploration into how the staff representative body and Siptu could work together on behalf of those employeesthat they represented.

It is understood that GoSafe argued that while it respected the right of an employee to be represented by Siptu, it consideredthat collective representation had to take place within a framework that equally recognised the rights of those staff members who were represented by the internal association.

It is understood that Siptu argued that it was not able to enter talks with a group of workers who did not have a negotiating licence and who were not subject to the same rules and regulations as union members.The union sought the company to implement the Labour Court recommendation.