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Galway Garda chief prioritises saving lives on roads

Galway’s Garda Chief has said saving lives on roads in the city and county was among his main two policing priorities.

Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche (pictured) said thirteen lives have been lost on Galway’s roads since the end of last November.

After every serious and fatal road traffic accident, Gardaí in conjunction with local authority engineers carry out a detailed examination of the roads to find out whether things such as design could make it safe.

But the analysis, he said, suggested that “very few (of the 13 fatal collisions) could have been prevented by policing”.

He reiterated the importance of drivers taking individual responsibility to slow down, belt-up and drive carefully.

Other road users should wear high-visibility clothing so that they are seen, he said.

Chief Supt Roche said young people were “getting into really bad situations”, adding: “You can’t put an old head on young shoulders”.

He extended sympathy to the families of victims of recent road traffic accidents in the city and county, and reiterated that roads policing and road safety was among his top-two policing priorities alongside a clampdown on drugs dealers and organised crime.

Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) sympathised with the families of two teenagers who lost their lives in a road traffic incident at Menlo Pier in February.

Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) also extended sympathy to the family of a neighbour of his who he said died in a recent road collision.

Olivia Maher, Garda crime analyst, said there were 55 people killed on the country’s roads so far this year, which was up six compared with the same period last year, a “worrying trend”.

Ms Maher updated the Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Garda efforts to promote road safety through three ‘lifesaver offences’.

The data showed that speeding offences were down but detections of use of mobile phones while driving and not wearing seat belts was up.

She said 100 Fixed Charge Penalty Notices (FCPN) for driving while holding a mobile phone were issued in Galway Garda Division in the first two months of this year, an increase of 117% compared with the same period last year.

FCPNs issued for not wearing seat belts had doubled to 26 incidents in January and February, compared with 13 in 2022.

But she noted that speeding detections were down by 52 FCPNs to 710 in January and February, which was a trend that was replicated across the country.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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