Simon Harris Set For Urgent Meeting With Road Safety Authority Amid Increase In Road Deaths

Taoiseach-elect Simon Harris is to hold an urgent meeting with the Road Safety Authority amid the increase in road deaths.

Mr Harris will meet with the RSA when he assumes office next week, having noted that there has been a sudden "reversal" of the progress made in recent years to cut road deaths and serious injuries.

Speaking at Fairyhouse, Mr Harris said, “In recent days my office has reached out to the Road Safety Authority and one of the very early meetings I’m hoping to have in government is with the Road Safety Authority, the gardaí and others". 

Minister Simon Harris also said that the high level of road fatalities since the beginning of the year would be a "priority issue" for him, and he wanted to speak with the experts. 

When asked if there was a link between the rising number of road deaths, and the huge reduction in the number of traffic corps gardaí out on patrol, Harris added, “I’m very concerned about the trends that we’re seeing in relation to road deaths. How could you not be?". 

“I’m also very conscious when we talk about road deaths, numbers and statistics, that behind each one of those numbers is a heartbroken family, a life lost, a life shortened or altered, and I’m extremely conscious of that when talking about such a sensitive issue". 

"alarming rise"

According to statistics, the death rate on Irish roads since January 1, is 38% higher than the same period a year earlier. Overall, 58 people have died on Irish roads in the first 3 months of 2024, an increase of 16 from the first 3 months of the previous year.

Out of 58 deaths, 24 include drivers, 18 passengers, 11 pedestrians, 3 motorcyclists, and 2 cyclists. 

Speaking on the increase in deaths from last year, Simon Harris said that there has been an "alarming rise". 


“I do think the gardaí have done an excellent job over the weekend. I thank them for their work,” he said. “There was an increased number of arrests when it comes to people driving under the influence of either drink or drugs". 

He continued, “I also obviously want to support the gardaí as well in terms of their own numbers growth. I think there is a broader issue that we need to be concerned about here, which is this idea that it is in any way, shape or form acceptable in anybody’s mind to get behind the wheel of a car when you’re under the influence of either drink or drugs". 

“I think we are at a real risk in this country of seeing a reversal of the very significant progress that has been made over many years in relation to road safety. And this will be a priority issue for me in the days ahead". 

This comes after An Garda Síochána launched a bank holiday roads enforcement operation ahead of this Easter weekend, in order to warn people over the increase of motorists on the road, to protect vulnerable road users, and reduce the number of road deaths and serious injuries. 


More from National News