Grieving mother protests outside Dáil over speed limits

Roseann Brennan determnined to fight for 20km/h in residential areas after son’s death

Rosie Brennan outside Leinster House on Monday in a campaign to reduce speed limits in residential areas. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Rosie Brennan outside Leinster House on Monday in a campaign to reduce speed limits in residential areas. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Roseann Brennan knows she cannot alter the fact that her six-year-old son was killed when he was hit by a car near his home.

However, she is determined to fight for as long as it takes to get a mandatory speed limit of 20 km/h in residential areas.

“I miss Jakey so much and I’m not going to get him back no matter what happens. Life will never be the same again,” said Ms Brennan.

“But I won’t stop – I’m not going to stop [campaigning to reduce the speed limit]. This is something I need to do so my baby didn’t die for nothing and I’m also for my other two children, so they can be safe.”

Ms Brennan is holding a three-night vigil in the bitter cold and rain outside Leinster House until Wednesday at 6.25pm, the time Jake Brennan died on June 12th last year, to convince the Government to change the speed limit from 50km/h to 20km/h.

“I would stay out here longer if I could. I’ll come back if I need to.Too many innocent kids are getting killed,” she said.

Ms Brennan said she saw Jake “being flung into the air” after he was hit by a car outside her home in Lintown Grove in Co Kilkenny.

“I heard a loud bang and I saw him being flung-up in the air . . . I ran over and he collapsed in my arms. He was telling me, ‘mammy, I don’t want to die’,” she said.

“I loved him so, so much since the day he was born. And then he was dying in my arms; I knew he was going and there was nothing I could do.”

Ms Brennan said Jake was a bubbly child and was always the first awake every morning in their house.

“I’d hear singing come from his room and I knew he’d be in to say, ‘mammy it’s morning’. He was my alarm clock,” she said.

“ I know I can’t change what happened, but I’m doing this campaign to save children’s lives.”

‘Fobbed off’

Ms Brennan said she had met Minister for Transport Paschal Donohue five times since her son’s death and decided to take action when she was told it would take “many years” to reduce the speed limit from 50km/h to a mandatory 20km/h.

“I felt I was being fobbed off,” she said.

“I’m doing this to save children’s lives. I’m never going to give up. Enough is enough, for too many years people have stayed quiet over this.”

Ms Brennan said the Jake’s Legacy campaign always fought to have the 20km/h as the Road Safety Authority research showed “less speed is less injury”.

“Many kids before Jake and many after have been killed in housing estates. It’s not acceptable any more. Millions of euros are spent on things like flyovers to get people to work faster. One child’s life is worth that and more,” she said.

“It’s not just about reducing speed, it’s about changing people’s attitudes. Look how people’s attitudes were changed in drink-driving and seat belts.”

Many of Ms Brennan’s supporters said it was “extremely cold and wet” the night before to sleep the on the footpath, but they were determined to support Roseann and get the law changed.

The legal speed limit is 50 km/h, but local authorities have the option of imposing speeding limits of 30 km/h in residential areas.

Ms Brennan said other parents who had lost children or had near misses had got in touch to support her campaign.

Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald, who is supporting Ms Brennan’s campaign, said The Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2015 would be debated on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a vote would be taken on Wednesday night.