Galway Gardai have asked motorist to abide by ‘The Six Commandments’ this Christmas . . . and in the process take a giant step towards avoiding road deaths over the holiday period.
Booze, speed, seat-belts, distractions, careless behaviour and proper lighting need to be ticked-off by motorists as everyone gears up for the Christmas and New Year season.
So far this year, nine people have lost their lives on Galway roads while the fatality figure for Mayo in 2015 stands at 12 – Gardai have appealed for this figure not to increase over the coming weeks.
Between now and January 6 next, over 60 checkpoints a day will be carried out across the Western Garda Division of Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Clare and Longford.
Gardai have also ‘put it on the line’ to ‘morning after’ drivers who chance going behind the wheel with alcohol still in their system from the night before.
“This year, there is a morning element to a percentage of those checkpoints focusing on drink driving. Also as part of the campaign, large urban towns will be given special attention on weekend nights,” said Supt. Noel Kelly, Western Regional Traffic Superintendent.
According to drinkaware.ie, on average, it takes one hour for the body to rid itself of one unit of alcohol i.e. a half pint of beer, a small glass of wine or a standards spirits measure.
“No amount of black coffee or cold showers or even a ‘Full Irish’ [breakfast] can speed up your body’s ability to eliminate alcohol,” drinkaware.ie state.
The blood alcohol limit is now just 50mgs. of alcohol per 100mls. of blood or 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100mls. of breath [intoxalyser] or 67mgs. of alcohol per 100mls. of urine.
For professional or learner drivers the figures are reduced even further – 20mgs. of alcohol per 100mls. of blood; 9mgs. of alcohol per 100mls. of breath and 27mgs. of alcohol per 100mls. of urine.
“So, it has never been more important for drivers to ‘aim for zero’ the morning after. Even if you haven’t had a drink since last night, you may still be unfit to drive,” state drinkaware.ie .
Gardai, along with the Road Safety Authority (RSA), are also involved in a strong campaign this year to tackle the problem of fatigue driving – often common in the run-up to Bank Holiday weekends or the Christmas holiday period.
“It is estimated that driver fatigue has been a contributory factor in as many as one in five driver deaths each year in Ireland. Such collisions usually end up having a direct input on drivers, passengers, other road users and pedestrians,” said Supt. Noel Kelly.
The RSA have asked drivers to factor in breaks into their journeys, especially if travelling with children.
“Ensure that you are rested before commencing a journey and if feeling tired, pull over, take a 15-20 minute nap followed up by a cup of coffee and some fresh air.
“Remember, don’t try and fight sleep at the wheel. Turning up the radio or opening the window will not cure tiredness. The only cure is rest and sleep,” the RSA advise.
The Gardai have also made a plea to motorists to get out of the habit of going near their mobile phones while driving, but so far the practice shows no sign of abating – in December 2014, Gardai ‘pulled over’ 237 motorists for using their mobiles while at the wheel.
Gardai have urged all other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, to as ‘a matter of course’ wear high-vis vests or jackets as well as being properly ‘lit up’.
“We wish all road users a safe and Happy Christmas and New Year. We ask everyone to remember to ensure any action they might take while using the roads does not result in the loss of a life or serious injury to anyone.
“The message for this holiday period is to drive with caution, slow down, don’t drink and drive and always wear your seatbelt,” said Supt. Noel Kelly.
Galway City Council to ‘review’ Kirwan junction
Councillors are demanding proof that the €5 million spent to transform Kirwan Roundabout into a signalised junction was money well spent – blasting the new junction as having created long delays and worsening rat-running.
A meeting of the local authority last week heard that while there was a general acceptance there would be ‘teething problems’ with the traffic-light junction after it became operational in July, ongoing issues were continuing to draw the ire of road users and local residents.
Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind) said he was one of five councillors on the previous Council to initially vote against the removal of the roundabout, based on fears that it would increase traffic through local residential areas – a fear that had been realised.
“What changes have been needed to be done since it went live,” asked the former Mayor, indicating that there had been little improvement.
Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) said he understood that enhancement works were being done, but more were required.
“A lot of drivers are avoiding it and its driving traffic through the likes of Terryland Business Park. The Tuam Road is now gridlocked,” he said, calling on the Council to do a “PR exercise” to encourage drivers back to Kirwan.
Cllr Clodagh Higgins (FG) said the junction continued to confuse people and suggested that “overhead hanging signs” would be of assistance.
Green Party Councillor Niall Murphy said when the roundabout was slated for removal, it was promised that delays would be reduced by 25% and rat-running by 90% – but as yet, no evidence had been provided to show this.
“We need to put some science on this.
“The rat-running has moved to Dyke Road and there are some sections of that road where there are no footpaths, so it is quite dangerous for pedestrians,” said Cllr Murphy.
Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the meeting he believed there was a silent majority that were satisfied with the new junction.
He said that the junction’s ‘go live’ date was July 19, which coincided with the reopening of many parts of society that had been in lockdown due to Covid, and that had contributed to additional traffic.
“The first two objectives were to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, and those objectives have been achieved.
“There will be a post project review – that is something that we always do and I would be happy to bring that back to Council for its consideration,” said Mr Finn.
Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath confirmed that review was set to get underway.
“It will go through the various elements and if issues arise following the review, they will be addressed,” he said.
Thieves target cars as owners unload shopping bags
Galway shoppers have been advised by Gardaí not to leave their vehicles unlocked or unattended as they bring their shopping into their homes.
This follows reports in the Newcastle area of opportunist thieves ‘striking’ as the shopping bags were being moved into houses.
One resident told the Galway City Tribune that the thieves waited until the person had taken a bag of shopping from their cars to bring into their home.
“This gives the thieves a minute or two to have a quick look in the car – what they seem to be looking for are purses, bags or wallets that are left behind in the car,” the resident stated.
He added that some of local residents had notices two ‘youngish lads’ – possibly in their late teens or early 20s – hanging around the Newcastle Park Road area over the past week or two.
“I just think that people need to be on their guard for this kind of opportunist theft. They just wait until the driver goes inside the house with the shopping and before they come back out, they do a quick search of the car,” he said.
Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that opportunist thieves would always be ‘on the look out for a handy theft’.
“What I would advise is that either have someone to keep an eye on the car when the shopping is being removed – or else lock the car each time, and don’t leave any cash or valuables in the vehicle.
“It might be an inconvenience to lock the car each time you go back into the house, but it is still far better than having something stolen from your vehicle,” said Sgt Walsh.
He also urged, that as a matter of routine, no one should leave any valuables in their cars when they parked them up.
“Even the coins that some people keep in car pockets for parking or other small payments can attract thieves. Never leave anything of value in your vehicles,” he said.
Boil water notice issued for Barna area
A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes
The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.
The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.
The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.
Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.
Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.
Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.
In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.