There has been a 24 per cent increase in the number of drink driving detections in Donegal in the first six months of the year.
So far in 2017, 272 people have been caught for drinking driving in Donegal and there has been an increase of more than 1,000 nationally.
The increase has led to another call from gardaí for people in Donegal not to drink and drive.
The figures will also see an increase in policing aimed at deterring people from drinking before they drive.
The warning about drink driving in the county comes ahead of the traditional summer enforcement campaign which will be taking place around the country in this month.
Last July 21 people died on Irish roads. Five of those deaths were in Donegal.
Inspector Michael Harrison said half of the extra detections in Donegal came on the weekend of the Donegal International Rally.
Inspector Harrison said the increase in drink driving figures is very worrying considering the decrease in the number of gardaí in recent years. Notable this year was the number of young people being detected for drink driving and the number of extremely high alcohol readings that have been detected, he said.
“I am aware of what the recession has done to the number of gardaí and I know the number of gardaí out there and it is alarming to be catching more drink drivers,” he said. “As a society, we are starting to develop a serious problem with drink driving and as a police force, we have to get the message out. As a society, in general, we have to tackle the problem of drink driving. They are putting their own lives and the lives of other roads users at risk.”
He said drink driving was a problem that society had got rid of. “We are starting to develop a problem again,” he said.
“Obviously people are taking chances and some of the readings we have got in recent weeks were absolutely astronomical. There are huge readings from young people, who we were not catching in the same numbers last year.”
He said the rally weekend accounted for about 12 per cent of the extra detections.
“After what we experienced in the Donegal rally we will be running a lot more targeted operations at specific locations and in parts of the county that are not getting the attention they need. We will be running operations throughout July in an effort to get the message out to people.”