The Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority has said that as a former TD she is "very disappointed at the level of opposition" to proposed new drink-driving legislation that would impose mandatory disqualification on drivers.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, former Progressive Democrat TD Liz O'Donnell said: "It is already a criminal act to drink and drive at the low level.

"What the minister is attempting to do is merely to make the penalty tougher so that it acts as a better deterrent against low-level drinking and that is to replace the penalty points and the fine with a mandatory disqualification for three months."

Ms O'Donnell said she believes it is a "reasonable intensification of the penalty for what is already a criminal offence".

She also called for targeted and specialist roads policing.

"The fact that successive ministers for justice and transport have deferred to the garda authorities on the allocation of resources has not served road safety well, because road safety has not been a priority," said Ms O'Donnell.

RSA says more gardaí needed in traffic enforcement

"If the Government really is genuine about reducing fatalities to our target of 124 fatalities by 2020, they must give political direction in this regard and ensure that the resources that we have been promised will be given to roads policing."

She said Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael Finn promised 150 new gardaí this year dedicated exclusively to roads policing and she would like to see that "front-loaded because we got nothing last year".