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Garda Commissioner cites lack of resources as he delays 136 transfers to roads policing

The Road Safety Authority says it is “anxious” to see the full complement of resources being deployed to roads policing duties.

Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

THE GARDA COMMISSIONER has decided to delay the transfer of 136 gardaí to the National Roads Policing Bureau, stating they could not be spared without depleting frontline resources.

There was a national competition for roles in the roads policing bureau, formerly the Traffic Corps, last year and 136 garda members were successful. They were placed on a transfer list and told they would take up their new positions on 31 December 2019.

However in the last week of December, they were informed that these transfers were being deferred as Garda Commissioner Drew Harris determined that they were needed on regular units. 

Garda management has confirmed to TheJournal.ie that the transfer of these 136 members on New Year’s Eve was delayed as it “would have rendered all of these members unavailable for duty on one of the busiest days of the calendar year”.

Instead, 60 members from this transfer list will join roads policing “over the next number of weeks”. 

“In confirming transfers and appointments, the Garda Commissioner has to balance the needs of all operational units and ensure a fair and balanced deployment of members to meet the demands on the organisation, while not depleting frontline resources,” it said. 

“An Garda Síochána’s focus is to enhance road safety through increased enforcement, particularly of lifesaver offences. The deployment of new operational members to Roads Policing along with the ongoing issue of mobility devices will aid this goal.”

The Garda Commissioner has committed to incrementally increasing numbers in roads policing from over 700 to 1,031 by 2021. 

Provisional road collision statistics for 2019 show a 4% rise in road deaths, with a total of 148 people losing their lives on Irish roads. 

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) told TheJournal.ie that it was briefed by the Garda Commissioner about the situation. The RSA said it welcomes the planned deployment of 60 gardaí from the list and understands the deferral is “due to other operational challenges over the Christmas period”.

However it said it is “anxious” to see the full complement of resources being deployed to roads policing duties over the coming months. The RSA said it is well established that “the most effective means of changing behaviour on our roads is visible garda enforcement”.

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