Road Traffic Bill reaction: Sighs of relief but no jubilation

Minister for Transport Shane Ross congratulated safety campaigners for their perseverance

Minister for Transport Shane Ross outside Leinster House, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

Minister for Transport Shane Ross outside Leinster House, Dublin. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins Dublin

 

The passage of the Road Traffic Bill was greeted with sighs of relief but no jubilation by road safety campaigners in the Dáil Public Gallery.

Dubliner Leo Lieghio whose daughter was killed in a road traffic crash said he was nauseated to have listened to politicians talk of rural isolation when they did not know the “isolation, loneliness and mental illness” of having lost a child to an unnecessary road death.

Collette Griffin of Cobh, Co Cork said she was “disgusted” with the rural politicians who she said had claimed to be filibustering on behalf of rural Ireland.

“I am from rural Ireland,” she said. “They do not represent rural Ireland.”

After the vote Minister for Transport Shane Ross came out to mingle with safety campaigners on the plinth at Leinster House. He congratulated the group for their perseverance and they congratulated him on getting the Bill through the Dáil.

PARC Road Safety Group have said they welcome the Road Traffic Bill after "three months of tortuous debate". They would like to the minister and deputies for their work and said they will be watching closely to ensure that the Bill is speedily brought before the Seanad and enacted without delay.

Round of applause

TDs accepted the Bill by 75 votes to eight. There was a round of applause from the House, before Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae shouted “this is a sad day for rural Ireland” after the vote was declared.

The new law will ban first-time drink driving offenders for three months if caught with blood-alcohol levels of between 50 milligrams/100 millilitres and 80 milligrams/100 millilitres. Previously, it had imposed fines and penalty points.

It will also strengthen penalties for car owners who allow unaccompanied learner drivers on the road in their vehicles and provides for the seizure of cars used by lone learner-permit holders.

More to follow.