'Something drastically must be done' about the high level of drink and drug driving on Irish roads, according to a man who lost his teenage daughter in a hit-and-run.
Leo Lieghio was speaking after it emerged that on average, a driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence every half hour over the bank holiday weekend.
In all 181 people were arrested on suspicion of the offences, despite public warnings from Gardaí and the road safety Authority towards the end of last week.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Mr Lieghio said the figures are not surprising.
“It is not surprising to me anyway,” he said.
“The enforcement isn’t there constantly on the road. The Gardaí’s hands are tied by the numbers and the restrictions on them, but something drastically has to be done.
“Between drunk driving and speeding, the numbers are gone sky high and the number of deaths and serious injuries have gone sky high – the highest in over six years.”
Mr Lieghio said there are some Irish TDs that are seeking to downplay the seriousness of drink driving – and Irish people’s attitude to drink and road safety is too lackadaisical.
“When it comes to drink and road safety, it is just, ah we’ll just push it down,” he said.
“When someone gets killed, we’ll kick up an uproar over it for a couple of days and then it will be all forgotten about.
“It is too lackadaisical. Offenders get a little slap on the wrist and the families of the victims are the ones that have to suffer for years and years and years – suffer forever.
“I hate to say it but there are some TDs out there that are promoting the drinking, saying, ‘Ah sure have one or two drinks and drive home, there is no harm in that there.
“Then if someone dies in their constituency, they offer their sympathy. That’s no good to us. We want action, we want prevention.”
Mr Lieghio, who is a member of the Irish Road Victims Association, said cars should be fitted with intoxicator gadgets, that prevent cars from starting unless drivers prove they have not been drinking.
He also questioned why cars have the ability to hit high speeds when the speed limit is 120kph.
He said the devastation of losing a child to a road incident is “impossible to put into words”.
“Some families can’t hack it,” he said. “They break up.
“Some just carry on thankfully because they have other children. I don’t know how parents that lose an only child survive; I honestly don’t.
“Losing Marsia, every day I think of her. I carry on with my life and I am happy with my life now because of my other children and my grandchildren but the pain is always there.”
He called for increased awareness campaigns, in the media, on the roadside and in schools.
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