Gardaí will be adopting a 'zero tolerance' approach to those who disregard road traffic regulations during the Donegal International Rally this weekend.
Those who are found to be in breach of road traffic regulations will be arrested, charged and brought before the courts. No cautions will be exercised as a result of the 'zero tolerance' approach that gardaí have adopted towards this weekend.
The largest policing operation in the county will take place during the Donegal International Rally which takes place from June 21 to 23. The event attracts a huge audience.
Sergeant Charlene Anderson said that whilst many people come to follow the event and have a genuine interest in the event, there is a minority who attend the event and make public roads an unsafe place to be.
She said: "We have a major policing operation, in place, throughout the county, this weekend starting from Bundoran right up to Bridgend. Our emphasis this year is on a zero tolerance approach for the entire operation."
She said that the gardaí do not intend to target rally enthusiasts but rather those who come to the county and do not adhere to road traffic regulations.
"It is unfortunate that a small minority of people who travel to the rally - they tend not to go to the stages but they do hang around the Letterkenny town area, predominantly at night, they engage in diffing, doughnuts, high speed manoeuvres and they try and incite others to do the same," she said.
She said that the operation begins comes into effect this Thursday.
The event is very well marshalled and takes place in a well-controlled environment. Drivers wear special protective gear and they are specially trained. The rally cars themselves are specially prepared for rallying.
Gardaí are urging anyone attending the stages do so in a safe manner and to watch the stages from designated safety zones and to not enter prohibited areas.
A large number of arrests takes place during the course of the weekend, each year.
"We want to keep ordinary road users safe during the duration of the rally and all rally participants and enthusiasts also. We urge everyone to adhere to speed limits, to wear their seat belt and to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. We also ask everyone to comply with any requests made by gardaí policing the event. We are not there to spoil anyone’s fun, rather we want to ensure that the event is safe and enjoyable for everyone. We ask everyone to “Keep the race in its place,” she said.
There are temporary road closures in place throughout the weekend and all details of these closures are available on the Garda Síochána Donegal Facebook page and on the Donegal Democrat Facebook page.