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Fianna Fáil TD criticises 'absurd' drop in penalty points issued in past 10 years

Marc Mac Sharry TD said the legacy of declining Garda numbers has had an impact on the drop in figures.

Image: Shutterstock/Debbie Ann Powell

FIANNA FÁIL TD Marc Mac Sharry has criticised the “absurd” drop in the number of penalty points issued to drivers in the past 10 years. 

In June 2009, a total of 790,623 penalty point notices were issued to drivers, according to figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA). In the same month this year, 633,302 notices were issued, a fall of nearly 20%. 

“This is absolutely absurd, especially when you consider that 14 new penalty point notices were created in 2014,” Mac Sharry said.

He said the legacy of declining Garda numbers has had an impact on the drop in figures. 

There were 1,046 gardaí in the Roads Policing Units across the country in 2009, according to figures from the Department of Justice. As of May 2019, that figure has fallen to 695. 

“Surely with more offences now punishable with penalty points, there should be more penalty point notices issued. This decrease in penalty point notices clearly arises from the drop in the garda’s Road Policing Unit, which has fallen by a third between 2009 and 2019,” Mac Sharry said. 

This is something which has not been addressed by the government at all.

Mac Sharry noted that latest figures show that there has been a fall of 49 gardaí in the Road Policing Unit between 2018 and 2019.

“What is clear to me is that Minister Flanagan and Minister Ross are operating on two islands completely separate from each other, and they are not working to meet the challenges of road safety head on,” Mac Sharry said. 

“Minister Ross is spending his time trying to make it a punishable offence to be caught without your driver’s licence in the car. This is completely nonsensical and distracts from the real issue of a lack of enforcement.”

An Garda Síochána has been contacted by TheJournal.ie for comment.

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