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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 of Road Safety, which is a statutory 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 of 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 of 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 of 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 –2016 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.

• Approval, supply and testing of equipment or apparatus for determining the presence of drugs in Oral Fluid.

• 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.



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; 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 Full 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 Full Professor Emeritus of Forensic & Legal Medicine at UCD since 2017.

He serves as Director (Head) 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 for Ireland on the European Council of Legal Medicine and as current President of the ECLM Board (2019-2020). He is Member and Vice-President (2019-2021) of 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.

Professor Patricia Fitzpatrick (MD, MPH, FRCPI, FFPHMI)

Professor Patricia Fitzpatrick is Full Professor of Epidemiology & Biomedical Statistics, University College Dublin & Consultant in Preventative Medicine, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. She works as Consultant Epidemiologist & Director of Evaluation for the National Screening Service, Ireland. She is a former Dean of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland 2009-2011 and is currently on the Board of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine. She is also on the Board of the Institute for Public Health. She is Chair of the Steering Committee for Healthy UCD.

She conducted award-winning research with the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in 2003-2006 in relation to drugged driving with publication of a report for Government and a published article. She has recently been a member of the RCPI/Road Safety Authority Working Group on Traffic Medicine 2011-2017. She has over 100 peer reviewed published articles and has presented her research at numerous international and national conferences; her main areas of research are in the areas of prevention, including screening and health services research. She is Academic Director of the UCD Centre for Health Services Research. She was recent recipient of an award for Research Impact (UCD 2017).

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.  


Mr. Michael McDermott  FCMA, CGMA, MBA, Dip IOD

Michael McDermott is a recently retired accountant with career-long experience in financial management and corporate governance in both the Public and Private Sectors.  He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, an Associate Member of Chartered Global Management Accountants, a member of the Institute of Directors having completed the Diploma in Company Direction programme and holds an MBA degree from UCD Smurfit Business School.  He co-authored a report on the independence of boards of companies listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, published in the UK academic journal Corporate Governance, An International Review.

Prior to retirement as Head of Finance and Secretary to the Board of the Digital Hub Development Agency, his earlier experience ranged from working with H.J. Heinz in West Africa to General Motors and Electronic Data Systems (EDS) both in Ireland and Europe. He previously served as a Board Member and Chair of the Audit Committee of Dublin Simon Community and the Asthma Society of Ireland, and is currently a Board Member of Dundalk Simon Community.




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 does not receive payment for serving on the MBRS Board.