The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is demanding an urgent meeting with the Garda Commissioner over what it calls a “disappointing demotion and devaluing” of road safety under changes to the Garda structure.

It’s worried about the implications for roads policing in the new Garda operating model, which includes amalgamating some Garda divisions and reducing the regions.

The plan also aims to deploy 1,800 additional members to the front-line, while the number of Garda divisions is being reduced from 28 to 19 in an effort to reduce admin duties and create community policing teams.

Waterford is being combined with Carlow and Kilkenny, while the number of regions will go from six to four.

The RSA say they view the proposed restructuring as “effectively downgrading road safety within the policing function as its omits Roads Policing as one of the four key focus areas”.

They continue: “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.

“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.”

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