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Medical Bureau of Road Safety

About MBRS

The responsibility for chemical testing of intoxicants in driving in Ireland rests with the Medical Bureau for Road Safety, which is a corporate body established in November 1968 by the Minister for Local Government under Part V of the Road Traffic Act, 1968.  The Minister’s title was altered to Minister for the Environment & Local Government 22nd July 1997.  In June 2002 the Medical Bureau for Road Safety came under the ageis of the Minister for Transport following the transfer of Departmental Administration and Ministerial Functions Order 2002.

The Medical Bureau for Road Safety utilises the premises and staff provided under an agreement with University College Dublin, School of Medicine and Medical Science, Health Sciences Centre, Belfield, Dublin 4.   It is the continuing policy of the Medical Bureau for Road Safety to achieve and maintain a high standard of quality in all aspects of the work of the Bureau.

The Bureau derives its finances from an Annual Grant out of the Vote for the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport. (DTTAS)


The functions of the Bureau are laid down in the Road Traffic Acts 1968 –2010 and their regulations and they include:

• The receipt and analysis for intoxicants of specimens of blood and urine forwarded to the Bureau.
• The issue of certificates of analysis.
• The provision of equipment for the taking or provision of specimens of blood and urine.
• Approval, supply and testing of equipment or apparatus for indicating the presence of alcohol in the breath.
• Approval, supply and testing of equipment or apparatus for determining the concentration of alcohol in the breath.
• Research on drinking and drugs in relation to driving, including the methods of determining the amount of alcohol or drugs in a person’s body and the epidemiology of driving under the influence of intoxicants.
• Approval, supply and testing of equipment or apparatus for determining the presence of drugs in Oral Fluid.



The Board (including the Director) is appointed by the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport.  The Board members are as follows:

Dr. Declan Bedford (Chairperson)

Dr. Declan Bedford has been nominated by the Irish Medical Organisation. He is a specialist in Public Health Medicine with particular interest in alcohol and road safety. A medical graduate of University College Dublin, he worked as a specialist in Public Health Medicine with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and acted as Director of Public Health in the North East for seven years until his retirement from the HSE in August 2012. He is currently Chairman of the Health Research Board and works part-time with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland as Health Systems Research and Policy Advisor for their Hospital Group.
He is a Board Member of Alcohol Action Ireland. He has been a member on a number of Government Policy Groups, most recently the National Substance Misuse Strategy Group.  He was also a Board Member at the Drug Treatment Centre Board and the North Eastern Health Board. His published research covers a wide range of public health topics, including suicide and mental health, alcohol, men’s health, injury prevention, infectious diseases, health services and use of hospital services. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, and a former Board member of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine. Dr. Bedford is also a past President of the Irish Medical Organisation.

Professor Denis A. Cusack (Director & Board Member)

Professor Denis A. Cusack, FRCPI, FFFLM, FCLM, Barrister-at-Law.

Denis Cusack qualified as a medical doctor from University College Dublin in 1980 and trained in postgraduate clinical medicine in General Internal Medicine & Diabetes/Endocrinology in hospitals in Ireland and Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He qualified as Barrister-at-Law from the Kings Inns, Dublin and was called to the Bar of Ireland in 1991. He practised at the Bar particularly in the area of medical and healthcare law. He continued clinical practice in General Internal Medicine and his medical specialty practice is Forensic and Legal Medicine. He has held positions as Lecturer and then Professor of Forensic & Legal Medicine at the School of Medicine, University College Dublin (1991-2017) and at Penang Medical College, Malaysia (2000-2017).
He is Director of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (1997 to date) and Coroner for the County of Kildare (1995 to date). He is Founding Consultant Editor of the Medico-Legal Journal of Ireland (since 1995) and is a Past President of the Coroners Society of Ireland (2008-2010) and Immediate Past President of the Medico-Legal Society of Ireland (2015-2017). He serves as Delegate / Member of the Executive of the European Council of Legal Medicine and is Officer and International Representative on the Presidium (Council) of the International Academy of Legal Medicine. His specialist and research interests and publications include intoxicated driving, road traffic medicine, forensic death investigation, medico-legal issues in healthcare practice, medical ethics and professionalism and clinical risk management.

Ms. Nicola Hayes (Assistant Principal Officer, DTTAS)

Nicola Hayes was first appointed to the Board of the MBRS in April 2014 having been nominated by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.  She currently has responsibility for road traffic legislation and policy development for road safety including intoxicated driving, driver licensing and testing, and traffic and parking in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.  She is also responsible for the corporate governance oversight of the Road Safety Authority.  She is a career civil servant who has previously worked in the aviation, public transport and energy sectors and has also served as the Department’s Transport Attaché to the Irish Permanent Representation in Brussels. Nicola holds a Bachelor Degree in Business Studies (Management) and is currently pursuing a Post Graduate Diploma in Corporate Governance at the Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Mr. Paul Burns SC 

Mr Paul Burns, SC has been nominated by the Bar Council of Ireland. He has 29 years’ experience in legal practice, in both civil and criminal law, including prosecution and defence work. He also has extensive knowledge of road traffic law. His clients include the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, Dublin City Council, insurers, large retailers and numerous individuals. He is also a qualified mediator through Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) assisting parties to resolve disputes outside of the Court process.  



Fees payable to Chairpersons and Members of State Bodies

The MBRS fall under Category 4 for fees payable to Chairpersons and members of non-commercial State Bodies with effect from 1 January 2010. The rates payable are €8,978 for the Chair, and €5,985 for a member. Under the One Person One Salary (OPOS) Principle, it is a requirement that public servants who sit on State Boards in an ex officio capacity or on behalf of their parent Department should not be paid remuneration in the form of board fees. Therefore, the Director and the Department’s nomination do not receive payment for serving on the MBRS Board.