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Dublin: 6 °C Monday 27 January, 2020

RSA blasts Garda restructuring plan, accuses force of 'downgrading' road safety

The RSA is “very concerned” that Roads Policing was not among the four areas identified as ‘key focus areas’ for Gardaí.

Image: Sam Boal

THE ROAD SAFETY Authority (RSA) is seeking an urgent meeting with the Garda Commissioner over what it calls a “disappointing demotion and devaluing” of road safety under the Garda restructuring plan announced today.

The state agency has raised concerns about the implications for roads policing following the shake-up which will see the number of garda regions reduce from six to four and the number of divisions fall from 28 to 19.

In a statement this evening, the RSA said it was “very concerned” that Roads Policing was not among the four areas identified as ‘key focus areas’ for Gardaí at an operational level.

“These new organisational changes appear to signify a disappointing demotion and devaluing of roads policing and related road safety. The RSA has written to voice its concerns to Commissioner Harris in this regard,” it said.

“These changes in roads policing risk unravelling much of the success Ireland has achieved in terms of reducing road fatalities and serious injuries on our roads and are counterproductive to the objectives of the Government Road Safety Strategy.”

Under the new plan Chief Superintendents in charge of the new divisions will be given more powers and more Superintendents will oversee a more community-based approach to policing in Ireland.

The restructuring will also see 1,500 more gardaí hired by 2021, including 800 to perform new roles within the force, as well as the recruitment of 1,265 garda staff.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) also voiced their concerns about the raft of changes to how the force operates following today’s announcement.

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Ceimin Burke

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