Tuesday, October 15, 2019

GARDAÍ and the Road Safety Authority have been at pains to make our roads safer. High profile publicity campaigns – often involving the goodwill and participation of families traumatised by horrific accidents and loved ones brutally taken from them – press home the message of safety, from TVs, radios, social media and billboards. The Gardaí play their part with education campaigns in schools, and, most crucially, through good policing.

Getting a case to court where a person has broken the traffic laws is a long, arduous process that starts immediately the crime is committed – whether that is uncovered as a result of checkpoint surveillance or becomes apparent through the unfortunate occurrence of an accident.

It requires attention to detail and professionalism on behalf of the Gardaí – and included in that is the timely ability to secure blood tests in the case of suspected drink driving cases.

Darren Skelton’s report in this week’s Waterford News & Star reveals that the system is currently astonishingly flawed in its support of Gardaí in this painstaking policing work.

When a drink driver is caught, under no circumstances should the system’s ‘net’ have gaping holes through which they can slither away. But that is currently the case.

The public must have confidence in our traffic laws and their implementation. The Gardaí tasked with upholding those laws must have confidence that they won’t be faced with unreasonable obstacles in being able to carry through their work.

Depending on the loose availability of GP’s or the Caredoc not specifically tasked with this work is an unacceptable obstacle. When Gardaí should be giving all their attention to fulfilling the rigorous requirements of bringing successful convictions, they cannot be distracted by a ludicrous ‘go find me a doctor’ scenario. That, surely, in this day and age, should be confined to the drama of TV soap operas.


Community to the fore

Over 2,300 people donned the orange for Solas at the weekend, the biggest ever participation in the cancer support centre’s annual Run and Walk for Life. The money raised will fund a substantial portion of Solas’ annual budget. Community spirit was to the fore both among the participants and those who lined the route in support. It was there in the stories behind each runner and walker, with cancer having touched the lives of so many.

Some will themselves have endured their own deeply personal health battles and survived. Theirs was a run or walk of triumph, understanding and support. Others will have lost loved ones who received precious comfort from the Solas centre. More again will have just wanted to offer support for a service that has grown to mean so much to countless members of our Waterford community.

There is strength in numbers, and solidarity, with nothing quite saying that like the sea of orange that passed through our ancient city streets last weekend.

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