Dáil Éireann - Volume 608 - 20 October, 2005
Written Answers - Garda Deployment.
Mr. Wall Mr. Wall
36. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of gardaí attached to the traffic corps; if he will increase the number of gardaí; the reason so many road traffic prosecutions fail through faulty legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29771/05]
Mr. J. O’Keeffe Mr. J. O’Keeffe
47. Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his views on whether there are inadequate resources available to the Garda Síochána in terms of personnel and equipment from the point of view of enforcement of road traffic laws and speeding; his further  views on whether the carnage on roads is directly related to this; the reason these resources have not been provided; and the measures he will introduce in an effort to reduce the toll of death and serious injury on roads. [29641/05]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
Mr. McDowell: I propose to take Questions Nos. 36 and 47 together.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the total number of gardaí, of all ranks, allocated to traffic duties as at 19 October 2005 was 574. A further seven gardaí, of all ranks, are attached to the Garda national traffic bureau based at Garda headquarters. While the members of the traffic  corps are specifically dedicated to traffic duties, all gardaí have responsibility, inter alia, to deal with traffic duties as they arise.
As the Deputy is aware, I announced the establishment within the Garda Síochána of the traffic corps on 23 November 2004. The Deputy will also be aware that the Government has approved my proposal to increase the strength of the Garda Síochána to 14,000 members on a phased basis in line with the commitment in An Agreed Programme for Government, with the recruitment of 1,100 recruits this year and in each of the next two years. As each cycle of recruit training is completed, the Garda Commissioner will assign the new members to the areas of greatest need, with particular regard to certain priorities, which include the traffic corps. The strength of the traffic corps will be increased to 1,200 members by 2008 on the following phased basis: in 2006 by 805; in 2007 by 1,030; and in 2008 by 1,200.
Resources are being allocated to the Garda traffic corps in accordance with the implementation plan contained in the strategic review of traffic policing published in October 2004.
Road user behaviour is a contributory factor in 90% of road collisions. Excessive and inappropriate speed, alcohol consumption and non-wearing of seat belts are the primary causes of road traffic fatalities and injuries. It is not possible to quantify the number of prosecutions which do not result in conviction due to a successful challenge to road traffic legislation.
A working group chaired by my Department and representing the Department of Transport, the Garda Síochána and other relevant agencies, has carried out an in-depth examination into the issue of the engagement of private sector interests in the operation of speed cameras. The group’s report, which has been presented to the Government, makes a series of recommendations, which include proposals that will require the introduction of changes to the current Road Traffic Acts. The Department of Transport is currently preparing legislative provisions necessary to support those recommendations and on the completion of that work those provisions will be included in an appropriate Bill for the consideration of the House.
The purpose of this initiative is to enhance overall road safety and help reduce the numbers of deaths and serious injuries on our roads. The performance criteria to be applied will be determined by the Garda Síochána, and the deployment of cameras will be focused on locations where there is an established or prospective risk of collisions. As well as making a significant contribution to road safety, this initiative will release Garda resources so that their enforcement efforts can be concentrated on other motoring offences which cause death and serious injury, such as drink driving, dangerous driving and careless driving.
 The Garda Síochána, as the traffic law enforcement agency in the State, will be responsible for the outsourcing project. The Garda authorities inform me that they have commenced preparatory work with regard to the tendering process. My Department and the Department of Transport are assisting in the process.
Dáil Éireann 608 Written Answers Garda Deployment.