Motorists urged to take care on roads over June Bank Holiday after eight deaths last year

Assistant Garda commissioner Paula Hillman says the force will be monitoring speeds and mobile phone-use by motorists over the weekend

The Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána have appealed to motorists to take care on the roads this June Bank Holiday weekend in order to avoid a repeat of last year when there were eight fatalities.

“I would ask everyone to be cautious. I would ask, do not take other people’s sunshine away for their lives and end up come Monday or Tuesday someone has lost their life, be it a family or friend, and that’s it for them for life,” the authority’s chief executive Sam Waide said.

There have been 77 fatalities on the State’s roads so far this year, an increase of 13 deaths on the same period last year. Since 2018 there have been 20 fatalities and 94 serious injuries on the road over the June Bank Holiday periods.

Assistant Garda commissioner Paula Hillman said all road-users, be they cyclists, pedestrians, motorists or horse riders, should “look out for one another”. She said the force would be monitoring speeds and mobile phone-use by motorists over the weekend.


She said last year’s June Bank Holiday was “a significant” one with eight deaths on the road over the weekend. “The higher the speed the more devastating the consequences that we see, so all of us, slow down. Getting somewhere a few minutes later is better than ending up in a fatal or serious injury road traffic collision.”

The authority and the Garda have teamed up with Horse Sport Ireland and Horse Racing Ireland to appeal to motorists to think about how they share the road with horse riders. A series of videos encourages drivers to “pass wide and slow” when they encounter horse riders on the road.

A survey of more than 1,700 horse riders found that cars and SUVs have been involved in the highest proportion of reported incidents with horses on the roads. It found that 85 per cent of horse riders had experienced a road safety incident with their horse at some point, with 12 per cent of these incidents resulting in injury to either the horse or rider.

Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers said summer was a high-risk period for road-users. “All road-users have a duty of care to share the road in a safe and socially-responsible way. I hope that all road-users will find this new series of videos useful as they demonstrate best practices guidelines when sharing the roads specifically with horse riders.”

Ellen O’Donoghue

Ellen O’Donoghue

Ellen O'Donoghue is an Irish Times journalist