SIX people have been detected drink driving in Clare over the Christmas period, with two of these being during the day time.
Of the six drink drivers, one was detected at 9.20am on Monday, December 19 and another at lunchtime on December 21. Two were detected in the early hours of December 28.
Although the drink-driving figures for the month of December to date show a “significant increase” in those driving while under the influence of alcohol, locally the statistics are down one on last year for the Christmas period.
On December 1, An Garda Síochána and the RSA launched the Christmas and new year anti-drink driving campaign. This was heavily publicised across all broadcast mediums, particularly social media, and was fronted by the Treacy family, who tragically lost their four-year-old son Ciarán in a road traffic collision involving a drunk driver.
Despite this stark ad, people continue to drive under the influence. Nationally, from December 1 to December 20, a total of 500 drivers failed to heed the repeated road safety messages in relation to drinking and driving. This represents an increase of 34% on the number of people detected for drink driving over the same period last year.
Addressing the national figures, Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn said, “This significant increase in detections show increased garda activity but, disappointingly, shows there are some who still refuse to heed all the safety messages. We will continue to seek out these high-risk drivers over the coming weeks on a 24/7 basis to make the roads safer for all road users. I appeal again to every driver thinking of taking a chance with their life or someone else’s. Don’t do it – never, ever drink and drive.”
Inspector John Ryan of Ennis Garda Station said gardaí were out in force over the Christmas period, maintaining the same level of checkpoints as last year but he said the message does not seem to be getting across.
“The ad campaign is very poignant, given the victim impact statement of Mrs Treacy but, unfortunately, it’s not getting the full message across,” he said.
Inspector Ryan said it is difficult to comprehend the rise in the national figures for the first three weeks of December.
“It’s absolutely a concern. Any increase is a concern. You’d love to keep it down as much as you can. It’s hard to believe that it’s gone that high. You would have thought with all the advertising and the campaigns that are out there that you would see a reduction but unfortunately that message is just not getting across,” he said.
Otherwise over the Christmas period, Inspector Ryan said things were quiet, with just two or three public order incidents logged on St Stephen’s night in the county.
The RSA’s anti drink-driving campaign can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtyOq5ATw18