Tragically, we and the public realise that the penalty points system is not working. The slaughter on the roads over the weekend and the significant increase in road deaths for the months of May and June is an appalling indication of the failure of the penalty points system. We have to point the finger fairly and squarely at Ministers, despite their laudable efforts to take action. The Government has failed to provide the manpower and resources necessary to allow the Garda do its work. People have reverted to their old ways of speeding, bringing great tragedy to many families.
It is important that the Leader bring the message to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Michael McDowell, and the Minister for Transport, Deputy Séamus Brennan, that it is absolutely essential, as we move towards high season of tourism when there will be more motorists on the road, that adequate resources and manpower should be made available. The fact that there are only 125 gardaí dedicated to road traffic duties at any given time is a clear indication that all the spin from the two Ministers regarding their commitment to road safety is just that. Resources and manpower are not put in place to back up the spin with reality. Until such time as resources are available, we will have the continuing tragedy of road deaths.
We were promised an extra 2,000 gardaí during the lifetime of the Government. Where is there any indication that it is taking steps to meet its commitment on this very important issue? There is even a failure to provide technology for the Garda to put in place a proper campaign against road deaths and speeding motorists. I ask the Leader as a matter of urgency to highlight to both Ministers that the time for spin is over and that there must now be action. We all look forward to seeing the number of road deaths substantially reduced, as was the case for the first few months of this year. Now we have reverted, and it is time for action.
Perhaps I should bring to the notice of the Leader the fact that in the BMW region there was an underspend of €644 million in the first three years of the NDP. Surely this is another indication of the total lack of commitment of the Government to the region. The disparity between the economic ratings of the east and west is not narrowing but widening. There is verification in all of the reports. It is unfortunate that an area so deprived in the past is now suffering because, despite the resources having been made available under the NDP, they are not being spent during the plan's lifetime. I call on the Minister concerned to make an effort for the remaining three years in all areas, including infrastructure, agriculture and social inclusion, to close the yawning gap between the economic standing of the east and the west. The money must be spent in allowing the west's infrastructure to catch up.