The public works contract awards deals on the basis of the lowest price submitted. Photograph: iStock

Fifteen projects over 10 years paid out €270m above tender but came in ‘under budget’

‘Construction’s a tight margin business and there’s very little room between a project making money and becoming an abysmal failure.’ Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Lowest bid wins’ approach to tenders needs to change, say both sides of process

The Road Safety Authority   keeps a record of penalty-point offences by foreign licence holders, and licence details can be confirmed by this ‘ghost’ file. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

All had accumulated 12 or more penalty points and faced six-month disqualification

The Road Safety Authority has long been aware that some learner drivers were “rolling” their learner permit

No policy changes expected in the short-term because of the suspension of driver testing due to the pandemic

Road safety group Parc said ‘penalty points and fixed charges are a proven deterrent but if they cannot be effectively followed through in the courts, they waste Garda time and undermine public confidence in our legislature’.

Law ruled unconstitutional stopping motorists claiming fixed-charge notice not received

Transport Infrastructure Ireland is installing a range of monitoring systems, including automatic number-plate recognition systems, traffic cameras and average-speed cameras, along the M50. Photograph: Alan Betson

Variable speed limits being introduced to improve traffic flow not backed by legislation

 A speed lazer camera mounted on the Stillorgan Road. File photograph: Cyril Byrne

Enforcement of fines should be fixed before new legislation introduced, FF’s Marc MacSharry says

Road Safety Authority chair Liz O’Donnell and outgoing chief executive Moyagh Murdock. Ms Murdock is taking up a new role as chief executive of Insurance Ireland. Photograph: Tom Honan

Department corrects error and extends deadline for applications for four positions

Motorists detected 20km/h-30km/h over the limit will receive a €100 fixed charge and four penalty points. Photograph: iStock

Shane Ross wants to match sanctions to the amount a motorist is over the limit

Gay Byrne, then Road Safety Authority chairman, at the launch of the new Rules of the Road in 2007. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Broadcaster revelled in role of RSA chairman where he fought to change driver behaviour

Minister for Transport Shane Ross  said learner drivers   ‘rolling over’ a provisional licence for years and booking but not sitting a driving test were ‘gaming the system’. Photograph: Thinkstock

Road safety group concerned over low rate of enforcement in some rural Garda divisions

Whistleblower Seamus O’Loughlin:  said he contacted the Minister because he was astounded by the scale of some of the issues. Photograph: Keith Wiseman

The utility has responded to the 10 protected disclosures submitted by whistleblower

Séamus O’Loughlin: ‘I began to lose faith and trust in the process.’ Photograph: Keith Wiseman

Highlighting alleged safety and management failings took ‘far bigger toll than I ever expected’

The Electricity Supply Board notified the agency about the issue at the end of May, following a series of disclosures relating to safety. File photograph: Aidan Crawley

Environmental Protection Agency examining whistleblower’s claims of cable failures

More than 700 vehicles have been seized since the Clancy Amendment – which allows for the vehicle of an unaccompanied driver to be seized – came into force in December 2018. Photograph: iStock

Pulse system does not allow gardaí to record reasons why a vehicle has been seized

The number of road deaths fell from an annual average of 400 at the turn of the century to 258 today. But resistance to road safety measures persists.

Drivers can renew learner permits once they have booked driving test

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said the volume of complaints from constituents about the rising cost of insurance premiums was huge. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Minister wants commission to investigate suspected anti-competitive practices

Transport Infrastructure Ireland wants tolls at each M50 junction instead of the current single toll that only one quarter of vehicles using the route will pass. Photograph:  Dara Mac Dónaill

Minister believes public transport and variable speed limits key to tackling issue

‘I am not going to introduce measures, certainly not in the immediate future, to compel people to wear hi visibility jackets or helmets...’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/ File

Rules for mandatory helmets and reflective clothing ‘would be too difficult to enforce’

Minister for Transport Shane Ross said it had proved exceptionally difficult to draft legislation on a minimum passing distance that was constitutional and that could be enforced

Attorney General concerns centred on how distance could be enforced

The issue in question  came to light while gardaí were being trained on roadside drug-driving tests using impairment tests and new drug-driving test kits. Photograph: John Giles/PA Wiredrink

Department of Transport says Act will correct the impairment test error from October 26th

The  rise in traffic volumes on the M50 is becoming an increasingly fraught topic with congestion in the greater Dublin areas now estimated to be costing €350 million a year. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Transport rules out additional tolls to manage demand on route

NCT centre Dublin. File photograph: Dave Sleator

New €700m contract to be awarded for test service that has proven profitable for Applus

A drafting error in the Road Traffic Act (2016) means gardaí do not have the power to take a blood or urine sample from a driver arrested for failing or refusing to take an impairment test. Photograph: Frank Miller

Shane Ross urged to correct error in Act limiting Garda power to take samples

Leo Varadkar: if ‘we may need to make an exception’ and reinstate a guillotine to time-limit debate of a new road safety Bill. Photograph: Collins

Dáil ‘guillotine’ may be used amid criticism of filibustering tactics used by group of rural deputies

Last year 77,414 penalty points were issued to motorists detected driving while holding a mobile phone

Gardaí have been slow to use the new law due to concerns about the gathering of evidence to support a prosecution

The proposal was put forward a number of years ago by the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority Moyagh Murdock. Photograph: Sara Freund

The RSA said such an exercise would challenge the idea that driving while disqualified was acceptable

Members of the Garda Traffic Corps: In September 2017 the strength of the  corps was 631, down from 669 in January.

Anything less than a 20 per cent increase in numbers completely unacceptable to RSA

Up to the start of November 2017 just 1,856 gardaí had received training to carry out new drug-detection tests, out of 13,551 members of the force. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Garda expresses concern about low detection figures and issues with testing devices

 ‘The pressure to resist this seems to be coming from the Vintners’ lobby, I don’t think that it is coming from the people,’ says Minister Ross. Photograph: John Giles/PA Wire

Transport Minister says while he anticipated some opposition to new penalties, he was taken aback by the strength of resistance

 Minister for Transport Shane Ross said inexperienced drivers were up to five times more likely to be involved in a collision. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Road safety group criticises ‘lack of urgency’ in activating new penalties

Minister for Transport Shane Ross: “It is completely unacceptable that gardaí, by virtue of being gardaí, should not be subject to discipline when they are distorting figures.”  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

‘Judges should be given guidelines in terms of sentences. They take too much discretion’

Speeding attracts the most penalty points of any road traffic offence, with 549,574 points issued in 2016. Photograph: Getty Images

Shane Ross is to introduce a new scheme targeting motorists who go over the limit

Garda Siochana seriously damaged by this debacle that has an ongoing legacy

 A Garda checkpoint on Kildare Street, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Impossible to determine how many of 76,000 cancellations were dishonest

Last year more than 9,000 of the commercial vehicles that failed were deemed unsafe to drive from the test centre

Cut in cost of roadworthiness test seen as a way to boost compliance rates

Minister for Transport  Shane Ross has dismissed objections to the drink-driving Bill as ‘complete and utter nonsense’. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Vintners are campaigning against law seeking to automatically ban all drink-drivers

On Friday night at about 9.30pm a man climbed onto the gantry over the northbound lanes and smashed cameras and cut cables, damaging the system. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Costs include lost revenue and repair costs, along with enhancing security at the site

An image from a social media account believed to be linked to the man who damaged the M50 tolling system showing cut wires on a camera.

Many northbound motorists not being charged, unclear if toll will be fixed by Monday

 According to the Road Safety Authority, one driver has accrued 30 penalty points. Above, a  speed laser camera mounted on the Stillorgan Road,  Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Road Safety Authority says scenario ‘deeply unsatisfactory and unacceptable’

The disparity between the published and actual breath tests was identified by the bureau after it carried out an internal examination of a sample of breath test devices in 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

State bureau did not formally notify Garda as it was told audit was already under way

A secondary school teacher on the first point of a 25-point pay scale could be fined €894 for speeding if the UK system was introduced here. File photograph: Alan Betson

Emphasis should be on roads enforcement and preservation of life, says garda body

Speeding remains by far the most commonly detected penalty point offence. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Half a million speeding drivers caught and 81,067 mobile-phone users detected

Shane Ross considering making it mandatory for motorists to advise authorities

The discrepancy found in the Cork and Kerry regions was so significant that Garda management ordered a nationwide audit. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Number of tests on Garda Pulse system does not match the number of motorists tested

Minister for Transport Shane Ross says it is a real problem that many drivers don’t keep up with the rules of the road, “and obviously don’t understand them”. Photograph: Alan Betson

Minister concerned motorists are not keeping up to date with changes in rules of the road

Had VAT at 23 per cent been imposed on the existing M50 toll the fee for a driver with a tag account would have risen from €2.10 to €2.50. Photograph: Frank Miller

Motorists avoid increases after ECJ makes unexpected decision against Revenue claim

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has said he favours cutting the alcohol limit for drivers. File photograph: David Sleator

Minister says country needs 'a shock' to break complacency around relationship between drinking and driving

The company that operates the National Car Test has been fined as a result of problems experienced by car owners accessing tests last year.  File photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Road Safety Authority penalises Applus over problems with accessing tests last year

Traffic volumes on the M50 are growing by an average of 6% a year, and in some sections at close to 10%.

NTA recommended extra tolling points on orbital route to tackle rising traffic volumes

Last year the Irish Court of Appeal said it would consider setting sentencing guidelines in cases of dangerous driving causing death

Department of Transport spokesman says the legislation is however kept under review

Road Safety Authority chairwoman Liz O’Donnell has been given her own office on  Pembroke Street in Dublin 2

Head of agency will for first time get own office on Pembroke St ‘to perform her duties’

The imposition of 23% VAT on M50 toll rates would mean the fee for a driver with a tag account rising from €2.10 to €2.50, while a driver with a video account would see their €2.60 charge rise to €3.20. Photograph: Getty Images

ECJ says Republic must impose VAT on tolls levied across the State-owned motorways

Fixed fines: drivers who are slightly over the speed limit face the same penalties as driver well in excess of the limit. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France have versions of a ‘sliding scale’ fine

A Garda checkpoint in operation: Additional costs tend to be applied on drivers with five or more penalty points. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Insurers say no link between sight of information and sharp rise in premiums

Some of the Meet the Voters participants, clockwise from top left: Kate Lawlor, Catherine O’Brien, Maedbh Donaldson, Jerry Kennelly and John O’Brien.

Analyst says election is continuing a trend which sees voters deciding very late

David Farrell Professor of Politics at University College Dublin said voters are leaving it very late to make up their minds. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

David Farrell says evidence voters are increasingly swayed by policies over personalities

The legislation was also intended to address weakness in current laws considered unworkable by gardaí. Photograph: Getty

Law was intended to punish drivers for using services such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp

Gardaí are evaluating tenders for a second five-year contract to operate speed cameras, which is likely to see the scope of speeding enforcement increased. Photograph: Getty Images

Road Safety Authority chief Moyagh Murdock favours altering penalties from fixed €80

 Moyagh Murdock, chief executive  of the Road Safety Authority: “What I see is a culture here that it is acceptable to drive while disqualified. That must change” Photograph: Sara Freund

Interview: Moyagh Murdock frustrated by some judges’ approach to road traffic cases

Research shows that narcotics seriously impair driving skills. Photograph: Getty Images

Narcotics such as cocaine discernible from analysis of swab taken from driver’s mouth

The High Court ruled in February 2014 that use of the poor box for penalty point offences was barred under the Road Traffic Act 2010.  Photograph: Thinkstock

High Court ruled that use of poor box for road traffic offences was ‘incorrect’ last year

Six out of 10 people due before courts for drink driving were able to escape without conviction. File photograph: Frank Miller

Plan to overhaul road traffic legislation comes amid anger over conviction rate

Property developer Johnny Ronan who said he did not intend to cause offence  with  his use of the Nazi phrase ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’. Photograph: Collins

Alan Shatter welcomes move by developer who said any offence ‘genuinely unintended’

Emergency legislation has been signed into law to deal with a High Court decision that cast doubt over hundreds of drink-driving cases. Photograph: Thinkstock

Legislative move after court ruled breath test statements should be in English and Irish

Decision on validity of data via Evidenzer Irl device casts doubt on cases before courts

Tommy Broughan: Documents show more than 1,500 drivers avoided penalty points between 2014 and May 2015 after they made a poor box donation. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Drivers still avoiding penalty points despite practice being barred by Road Traffic Act

Minister for Transport Pascal Donohue says the  commencement order will soon be signed into law. Photograph: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Minister says loophole will be closed shortly

Two loopholes had placed question mark over 200,000 penalty points

Denis O’Brien  has written to Independent TD Catherine Murphy to state  he is    disappointed that information ‘which you know to have been stolen’ was used to make seriously accusatory statements in the Dáil. Photograph: Getty

Donohoe says it is unacceptable Irish media cannot report on Murphy statement

Denis  O’Brien secured an injunction preventing RTÉ from broadcasting a report on the substance of the subject at the centre of Catherine Murphy’s comments. That order was also directed at any person or media outlet on notice of it, including The Irish Times.

Joe Costello glad The Irish Times and RTÉ seeking court permission to report Dáil statement

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan  announcing the Governement’s Spring Statement to the Dáil.

Noonan says up to €1.5bn is available for tax cuts and spending on services in next budget

The number of road checkpoints has declined as resources have been pulled into other areas. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Additional measures needed to ensure compliance, says Road Safety Authority

If VAT rates were applied to M50, toll charges would rise by up to 71 per cent. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Interpretation of law sees NRA paying VAT on M50 and Dublin Port Tunnel

Paschal Donohoe: said he planned to revisit in legislation the use of mobile phones and electronic communications

Legislation closed loophole allowing motorists to escape fines for texting

The Luas Cross-City could help ease M50 congestion. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Report in 2014 called for extra toll points and increased peak-time charges, but Minister believes Luas cross-city link-up, plus m(...)

Paschal Donohoe has asked each local authority to identify a number of residential areas where a 30km/h limit can be introduced in 2015. Photograph: Collins

Paschal Donohoe has asked local authority to identify potential zones

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe: says there are problems with the penalty points system, whose credibility has been damaged by recent controversies including gardaí cancelling points. Photograph: Garrett White

Interview: Minister believes there is no single reason behind rise in road deaths last year

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe: “Research from the coroner in Co Kildare showed that over a 10-year period 50 per cent of those who lost their lives in crashes tested positive for the presence of drugs.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Devices will test drivers’ saliva for range of drugs, says Minister Paschal Donohoe

Photograph: Alan Betson

Vehicles breaking limit by more than 20km/h

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe has described fresh allegations of continued abuses of the penalty points system as “very, very serious” and says they must be investigated properly.  Photograph: Frank Miller / The Irish Times

McCabe claims several hundred penalty points are being terminated every month

Garda whistleblower Sgt Maurice McCabe is to be seconded to the Garda unit investigating his allegations of continued abuses of the penalty points system.

Report suggests new penalty points system being abused at similar rate to predecessor

It’s time for wallet- and purse-purging exercises in providing all those materials needed for the new school year. Photograph: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The holiday season has been far too short. But, it’s been far too long. Either way, it’s over

Sgt Maurice McCabe: new plan would see a senior garda liaise with Sgt McCabe on a regular basis. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Maurice McCabe due to hand over more examples of terminated penalty points today

Procedure will allow blood samples to be taken as close as possible to time of collision

Driver claims cameras cannot be used to prosecute offences under Finance Acts

Under new legislation, driving unaccompanied and failing to display an L-place will incur two penalty points. Photograph:  Matt Kavanagh

Unaccompanied learner drivers are eight times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared with those accompanied by an ex(...)

Sergeant Maurice McCabe: said of the Guerin report: ‘It is a good day after six years of fighting the system.’ Photograph: Laura Hutton

Kenny promises ‘root and branch’ review after Guerin report on misconduct claims

 Traffic volumes on some parts of the M50 (above), have increased by 25 per cent since 2010.

Varadkar says he would have ‘serious problem’ with toll being increased at peak times

Speeding fines: last year 1,754 drivers escaped points after making a poor-box contribution. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Motorists are still avoiding points three years after the rules changed

Not learning: One in every 15 road fatalities involves an unaccompanied learner driver, according to the Department of Justice. Photograph: Thinkstock.

Only one-fifth of learner drivers who drive unaccompanied or fail to display an L-plate are convicted and fined

Dublin archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the same-sex marriage debate in Ireland had got off to ‘a bad start’.

Martin says debate on same-sex marriage in Ireland has got off to ‘a bad start’

Breath test: 441,380 drivers were breathalysed at checkpoints in 2013, and 7,962 were arrested. Photograph (posed by a model): John Giles/PA Wire

Assistant Commissioner John Twomey says fall in detections of speeding, illegally using a mobile phone and not wearing a seat belt(...)

Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar says the Government is “committed to transparency”. Photograph: Frank Miller

PAC chairman says he doesn’t mind if evidence held in a public or private session

Motorway tolls: set too high? Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Government says toll-free November encouraged hauliers to use motorways

Roadside impairment tests   will require motorists to perform simple co-ordination tasks at checkpoints to determine if they are intoxicated. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Equipment can test for some, but not all, of the seven most commonly detected drugs so impairment tests will still be required

Leo Varadkar said he plans to legislate next year for the introduction of a roadside device to test for drug impairment by either illicit or legal drugs. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister for Transport frustrated at failure to impose penalty points in the courts

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