Garda checkpoints will be set up across the city and county targeting drink driving and speeding for the St Patrick’s Festival weekend.
And ‘morning after’ drivers have been warned they may still be over the limit without even realising it.
Superintendent Noel Kelly, Head of Traffic for the Garda Western Region, said the St Patrick’s campaign will also be targeting dangerous and careless driving; failure to wear seat belts and driving while distracted through use of mobile phones or fatigue, etc.
“In particular, I would remind drivers of the dangers of driving the morning after the night before. 12% of all drink driving arrests occur between 8am and 2pm and of those, almost a third happen on a Sunday, peaking between 11am and 2pm.
“So it is critical that drivers take measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others, and this means leaving the car at home and taking a taxi or public transport the morning after if they need to get somewhere. It’s just not worth taking a chance if you are still over the legal limit.
“The safest thing to do if you’re heading out for the night is to plan your journey home by organising a lift, a taxi or using public transport,” said Supt Kelly.
Marked and unmarked Garda cars will be on duty as part of the enforcement campaign.
“Gardaí will be patrolling the road network throughout Western Region over the St Patrick’s Festival period in marked and unmarked vehicles and would like to remind drivers that in addition to mandatory breath testing, they can be tested if they commit any road traffic offence. So please make sensible choices when using the roads and never, ever, drink and drive.
“An Garda Síochána are asking all road users to act responsibly and safely on the roads. Drink-driving destroys lives – at best, you could lose your licence, but far worse, and far more difficult to live with, is the possibility of seriously injuring or killing someone on the roads,” said Supt Kelly.
He also appealed to people to make sure friends get home safely, particularly if they are intoxicated.
“I would encourage people to look out for each other – if your friend or relative is under the influence of alcohol, make sure they get home safely. Pedestrians should ensure that they are wearing high-viz clothing while walking on roads and to be conscious of their safety at all times,” he said.
Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority said: “St Patrick’s Festival is traditionally a time for people to enjoy a break from work, school or college, and enjoy the festivities around the country.
“We’re not suggesting that people don’t enjoy themselves, but we would urge people to act safely and responsibly, particularly when it comes to alcohol and road use. If you decide to go out for the night, leave the car at home and take the sensible option by using a designated driver or getting a taxi, hackney to and from your destination.”
So far this year, there have been 200 drink driving arrests in the Western Garda Region – which compares to 281 in Dublin; 267 in the Southern Region; 196 in the Eastern; 187 in the South Eastern and 177 in the Northern.
Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones
These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.
But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.
If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.
All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.
You can email that with a photograph to us, to email@example.com or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.
We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.
This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances. You can contact our team for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardaí seek help in locating missing man
Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.
He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.
Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.
Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.
‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.
Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.
There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.
Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.
Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.
“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.
“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.
Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.
“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”
(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.