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15 people were arrested on suspicion of drink-driving on Christmas night

The arrests were made between midnight and 9am this morning.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

Updated Dec 26th 2018, 4:33 PM

GARDAÍ HAVE ARRESTED 15 people around the country on suspicion of drink-driving overnight.

The arrests were made between midnight and 9am this morning, and follow 11 arrests for the same offence on Christmas Day.

Gardaí initially reported that ten people were arrested yesterday and that a further 12 were arrested overnight, but figures supplied to TheJournal.ie show the number is actually higher.

According to gardaí, a number of drivers refused to provide a breath sample when they were asked and now face a four-year ban from driving as a result.

“A small number of people continue to think that it’s okay to put other people in their community at risk by drink or drug driving,” Chief Superintendent of Roads Policing, Finbarr Murphy told TheJournal.ie.

“We will continue to target this group throughout the rest of the festive season and next year to have them put off the road in order to make our roads safer for all of us.”

Transport Minister Shane Ross issued a statement on hearing the figures today. He said, “Sadly, some drivers continue to take high risks with alcohol over Christmas. We will continue to introduce life-saving laws to deter reckless drivers from threatening the lives of others.”

He also congratulated gardaí for their “energetic efforts to enforce the rules over holiday period”. 

According to official garda statistics, December was among the busiest months for drink-driving detections in 2017, when 812 motorists were caught driving while intoxicated.

This year is the first Christmas since a number of new provisions of the Road Traffic Act came into effect, meaning that motorists who are caught drink-driving are automatically banned for three months.

The new laws removed a concession in previous legislation which allowed some drink drivers to receive penalty points instead of being disqualified.

Highlighting the risks of driving while intoxicated, Murphy called on anyone who was unable to drive to think clearly before getting behind the wheel.

“Drink and drug driving causes death and injury,” he said.

“It doesn’t happen by accident. It is a decision made by the driver who chooses to disregard your safety and that of your friends and family.

“It’s now time for all drivers to take responsibility for their behaviour or else have their car taken from them.”

With additional reporting from Michelle Hennessy.

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