07 Oct 2022

Call made to respect all road users and local communities during Donegal International Rally

Road safety appeal from the Donegal Road Safety Working Group

Call made to respect all road users and local communities during Donegal International Rally

Brian O’Donnell, road safety officer, Cllr Gerry McMonagle, chairperson Joint Policing Committee, Louise McGeever, RSA education officer, Inspector Seamus McGonigle, Roads Policing, at the launch

Donegal Road Safety Working Group is backing a garda zero-tolerance approach to anyone engaged in disruptive or risk-taking activities during next weekend's Donegal International Rally.

The group issued their road safety appeal on Monday afternoon saying road safety is everyone’s responsibility.

"There is one essential ingredient required for everyone’s safety and that is a personal responsibility.

"True motorsport fans come and go to rally events and no one would ever know they attended but unfortunately these events also attract a cohort who attend these events whose driving, and behaviour leave a lasting negative impact on the local community.

Although those who engage in these activities may regard them as ‘fun’, this view is not shared by the communities who must endure this disruptive behaviour," they said.

Inspector Seamus McGonigle, An Garda Siochana added: "Young drivers are unfortunately classed as high-risk takers and we are appealing to parents to make sure that their sons and daughters get sufficient driving experience and that the vehicles they are driving are road worthy.

"Driving too fast, travelling at night, with passengers in the car, not wearing seatbelts, driving after taking alcohol or drugs, are often a lethal combination and young motorists are constantly taking risks behind the wheel.

"We need to stress how important the road safety messages are. The high-speed sport takes place in a controlled environment with all the protections in place. Unfortunately, there is a small minority who drive dangerously, have no interest in the rally and are putting their lives and the lives of other road users in danger.”

Members of An Garda Siochána and the Donegal Road Safety Working Group along with Cllr Gerry McMonagle, chairperson of Joint Policing Committee, Inspector Seamus McGonigle, Roads Policing and Brian O’Donnell, road safety officer at the launch of the road safety campaign for the upcoming Donegal Rally – Keep the Race in its Place. Photos: Clive Wasson

Road safety officer with Donegal County Council, Brian O’Donnell,  said large numbers will arrive in Donegal to attend the rally and also to enjoy everything this magnificent county has to offer.

"We want to emphasise the importance of safety, both on the rally course and on the public roads.

"Followers of the rally need to be reminded to watch the stages from safety areas, always stay within the speed limits, reduce speed in inclement weather conditions, and allow plenty of time to arrive safely at your destination.

"We appeal to all rally fans to be cautious, use the road responsibly and be courteous to all road users. The gardaí will be out in force this weekend and we support them in taking a zero-tolerance with anyone showing disregard for the rules of the road.

"It falls on every one of us to ensure our roads are safe for all road users. Please keep the race in its place,” he said.

There have been 80 deaths to date in 2022, this is an increase of 33 when compared to the same period in 2021. It is also an increase of 16 on the same period in 2019, which is a more comparable year, pre-Covid. 

On Donegal roads, four people have lost their lives to date in 2022, compared to one for the same period in 2021.

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