A leading Garda has said he suspects the rate of drink-driving detections may only be the tip of the iceberg.
Inspector Michael Harrison was speaking after 25 people were arrested in Letterkenny, last weekend for drink-driving.
It followed a large-scale sting operation by Gardai to clamp down on drink-drivers during the Donegal International Rally.
A total of 90 people were arrested for a range of offences including 42 for public order, 17 for dangerous driving, 25 for drink-driving and 6 for drugs offences.
Many were processed before weekend sittings of Letterkenny District Court while 48 came before the court today.
Inspector Harrison admitted his officers set up a large sting operation in a bid to detect drink drivers.
But he said the rate of arrests proved that the problem of drink-driving is much higher than is being perceived.
He said “We have long suspected that the rate of drink-driving is much higher than is being detected. But the issue is resources.
“We had increased resources on the ground last weekend including more members and more man-hours and that resulted in these arrests including the 25 people detained for suspected drink-driving.
“To me that proves that we have a much more serious issue than we previously thought. Yes, we had greater numbers of people in the town but I cannot remember a time when we has 25 cases of suspected drink-driving.
“The reality is that there is a lack of fear of being caught because the public knows that we have a serious lack of manpower and we do not have the members on the ground,” he said.
He revealed that at one checkpoint alone set-up over a short period of time last weekend, four drink-drivers were caught.
Inspector Harrison said he wanted to stress that the rally was incredibly-well marshalled and those arrested were not genuine rally fans.
“We probably had a bigger crowd coming into Donegal last weekend than we have had for a long time.
“And yet there was no serious injury during the rally. It was actually a pleasure to police.
“The organisers of the rally, the Donegal Motor Club, go to extraordinary lengths to ensure safety and that has to be stressed.
“Those arrested are not genuine rally fans and most do not even go out and attend the stages of the rally but are only here to cause trouble,” he said.Tags: