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Roadwatchers Fears for jobs as AA traffic reports reach end of the road after 32 years

The reports that have become a rush-hour institution since they were launched on RTE Radio 1 in 1989 will no longer be broadcast from July 10


Stock photo (Barry Batchelor/PA)

Stock photo (Barry Batchelor/PA)

Stock photo (Barry Batchelor/PA)

There are fears for jobs at the AA after it announced that its well-known Roadwatch traffic reports have reached the end of the road after 32 years.

The reports that have become a rush-hour institution since they were launched on RTE Radio 1 in 1989 will no longer be broadcast from July 10.

Over the years, they launched the careers of well-known presenters including Lorraine Keane, Louise Duffy, Doireann Garrihy, Nuala Carey, and Louise Heraghty.

Conor Faughnan who was one of the first voices to be heard on the reports and was not afraid to criticise government departments or city councils when he saw fit.

“Eye in the Sky” reports by Bob Conway from a Robinson 22 helicopter over Dublin were a regular feature on the reports.

An AA Roadwatch spokesperson was unable to say if there will be redundancies but said there will be some redeployment of staff.

“We commenced a consultation process with members of the Roadwatch team earlier today,” he said.

“Initial conversations have now taken place, but we are at a consultation phase at this stage and, as such, cannot predict what the outcomes will be.”

In a statement, the Automobile Association said it is to step away from the reports following a strategic review “as it looks to commence its next phase of growth”.

“As of July 10, the AA will no longer provide AA Roadwatch broadcasts, effective immediately,” said Don Brennan, Managing Director of AA Insurance.

He said the company has decided to move away from the service and focus on growing other areas of the business.

“We know that many listeners will miss the traffic reports,” he said. “We would like to sincerely thank all of the current staff and previous ‘Roadwatchers’ for representing the AA with such professionalism and distinction over the last 32 years.

“Still, we feel that now is a good time to move on. We are conducting a consultation process with the AA Roadwatch staff that is commencing today about the future of the editorial content direction of the brand.”

He said a “raft” of new GPS technologies and traffic information sources means a wealth of detail is available to motorists from various sources.

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Mr Brennan said the AA will still offer travel information, route planners, emergency advice, and reporting on the AA Ireland website and AA App.

“We will focus our efforts on other areas of motoring advice and editorial to add a richer experience to our existing and future customers and members and become the primary source for motoring information with several new multimedia-rich features set to be added in the autumn,” he said.

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