The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr. Dermot Ahern T.D. and the Garda Commissioner, Fachtna Murphy, today signed a contract with the GoSafe consortium for the provision and operation of a network of safety cameras to detect speeding drivers. Also present at the signing at Templemore Garda College were the Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey T.D. and the Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, Noel Brett.

The contract, in line with the Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012, will result in a network of mobile safety cameras which will provide in the region of 6,000 hours of enforcement a month. In addition, 'before and after' speed surveys will be carried out so that enforcement activities can be focused most effectively. The costs of the project will be about €16m a year.  

Minister Ahern said: "While these costs will be offset by whatever revenue is generated from the project, the cameras are being introduced not to raise revenue but to stop speeding on our roads. I would expect that the network of safety cameras will be substantially rolled out by the middle of next year."

"We have made substantial progress in recent years in bringing about improvements in road safety. We have endured a terrible tragedy in Galway this week and our sympathy goes to the families involved. However, 40 less people have been killed on our roads so far this year, compared to the same period last year.  But we can and must do more. Every death on our roads is a death which should be prevented; and we have to be mindful too of the number of non-fatal injuries - often very severe - suffered by people on our roads.

"What this project is all about is saving lives and preventing injuries. There is no question of outsourcing law enforcement on our roads. The project will remain under the complete control of An Garda Síochána who will continue to enforce the law on speeding, in addition to the work GoSafe will carry out under their direction. And this is not a revenue generating exercise - instead its purpose is to stop people speeding on our roads in the interest of the safety of us all". 

Minister Dempsey said "I very much welcome today's announcement. The safety camera project is an important Action item in the Road Safety Strategy and my colleague Minister Ahern has had my strong support in making it happen. Reducing excessive and inappropriate speed on our roads is a key road safety issue for all road users, and the safety cameras should have a major impact both in deterrence and enforcement. While we have been making good progress on road safety, and the number of road fatalities is steadily reducing, we are all too well aware of recent deaths and injuries, and conscious that every one of them affects families, friends and communities. This is what drives the Road Safety Strategy and all the agencies working together".

GoSafe will work under the direction of An Garda Síochána, and the day to day running of the project will be managed by a new Garda Office for Safety Camera Management (OSCAM).

GoSafe will procure and maintain mobile safety cameras, carry out speed checks, carry out 'before and after' speed surveys and process all data on speeding motorists detected under this project and existing safety cameras operated by the Gardaí.  GoSafe will provide the personnel and equipment to carry out these tasks. They will provide the results of this activity to the Gardaí who will then take enforcement proceedings against the offending drivers.

The location, frequency, timing and duration of all speed checks will be specified by the Gardaí, based on collision prone zones, where a greater percentage of speed-related collisions are occurring on the State's road network. There are around 700 such locations throughout the country, identified following analysis of data on speed-related collisions. Details of these locations are available on the Garda Síochána website. The Gardaí will vary the location, frequency, timing and duration of speed checks in response to the road safety results being achieved through the safety camera programme. The programme will therefore focus on locations where enforcement will result in the greatest benefit in increasing road safety, and not on any other criteria.

The outsourcing of safety cameras covered by today's contract is only one of the enhancements which have been taking place to deal with the problem of speed on our roads. Last September new Garda mobile speed detection vehicles came into operation in addition to the over 400 hand-held speed detection devices which the Gardaí have.  The Gardaí were also provided with an automated number plate recognition (ANPR) system last year for installation in over 100 vehicles which, as well as providing a facility to gain valuable intelligence, has enhanced traffic law enforcement capabilities, including the detection of speeding.  

The Minister acknowledged that the process leading to today's signing of the contract had been a protracted one. This reflected both the complexity of the project and the need, especially in the current economic climate, to ensure value for money.

20 November 2009