Week’s events; RSA and blind spots, Dáil business, disqualified drivers

19th June, 2015

This week had a firm focus on road safety and on some of the issues that are having a serious impact on vulnerable users. While the total number killed on our roads as of Friday is down 19 on the same time last year, we have still lost 67 people to road fatalities so far this year. On Monday, I launched a new campaign with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) targeting cyclists and truck drivers, highlighting the danger of blind spots, which make cyclists invisible. This marked the start of Bike Week and came with the simple message that ‘If you can’t see the driver, the driver can’t see you’. You can check out the hard-hitting campaign video by the RSA here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXgFnojE–k&feature=youtu.be


On Wednesday I took Oral Parliamentary Questions in the Dáil, covering topics such as funds from the possible sale of Aer Lingus, the National Roads Programme and the latest proposals from the NTA and DCC regarding plans for Dublin traffic (the Dublin City Transport Study). On the same day I was before the Oireachtas Transport Committee updating members on my attendance at the EU Transport Council in Luxembourg the previous Thursday. Issue raised here included tendering for bus routes and our ports and railway network. On Thursday I had a Topical Issue Debate put down by Deputy Bernard Durkan on the widening of the N7.


On Friday morning I attended the opening of a new playground at St Joseph’s Co-Ed primary school in East Wall. This was a fantastic community event that was financially supported by Dublin Port and the GAA and it was great to see the children’s excitement as their new play area was finally unveiled.


The same afternoon I publicised a change in the law that will take effect from next Monday. It gives the power of arrest to An Garda Síochána when dealing with disqualified drivers. Until now Gardaí who identified people driving with a disqualified licence were required to initiate proceedings for a summons to court, with the case possibly taking months to come before a judge. Under the new measures, Gardaí will be able to arrest drivers, and bring them to court as early as the next day, or even on the day of the arrest, if a court is sitting. With around one in ten people who are disqualified being prosecuted for this offence over the last number of years, the actual scale of the problem has the potential to be much greater. This new measure gives enhanced powers to the Gardaí to deal with offenders and should act as a strong deterrent for those contemplating such activity.


Of course all of this happened in a week where a devastating tragedy took place in in Berkeley, California. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of the young people who lost their lives in the most devastating and unnecessary way. May they rest in peace.