For many years there has been carnage on Irish roads, the worst record in Europe. Politicians have failed miserably to solve the problem.
Why, one can reasonably ask is Ireland almost unique in the world in its inability to tackle this problem.
The following stripped down interview by Pat Kenny of the Minister for Transport will provide some hint
Minister – On the latest deaths. “The Road Safety Authority is going to present proposals for tough new restrictions on young drivers. Clearly, the licencing regime, the training needs to be substantially changed…”
Pat – We still have provisional drivers driving alone – shouldn’t we be enforcing the law like other countries?
Minister – Well, you are absolutely right; we need to change the regime entirely. Minister then gives examples of how other countries dealt with such problems.
Pat – In Northern Ireland they have a policy of restricting young drivers after their test.
Minister – And we will have to do the same…
Pat – What about the back log of people waiting for testing… problems with driver information…
Minister – …I mean the system we have in Ireland is simply not adequate
Pat – But the system needs to be reformed..
Minister – Well, that’s what Noel (Brett, CSO of the National Roads Authority ) is coming back to me with.. ending of backlog will allow the introduction of an entirely new licencing regime.
Pat – …size of engine, limit car speeds…
Minister – well Noel and I were talking about this and it’s one of the issues we’re working at…
Pat – Garda resources deployed more intelligently…instead of shooting fish in a barrel..
Minister – Well, I think they’re going to do that… that situation is going to change quite dramatically.
Pat – Local authorities granting planning along motorways turning them into suburbs, especially the M50
Minister – Well, it (M50) did become a commuter road but it was never designed for that… who could have foreseen that would happen? We’re doing a feasibility study on a huge orbital from Drogheda to Kildare (Feck – from Drogheda to Kildare???)
Pat – …would have to insist that local authorities would not build on it…
Minister – …That’s why we have given the National Roads Authority the role in planning…they are taking a very strong line on a lot of the new roads around the country.
This kind of ribbon development is not going to happen any more. Unfortunate about the M50…but that development is also needed (ribbon development along motorways), jobs, companies want to be close to their markets…conflicts to be resolved…
Minister Cullen has been in the job for two years, the Government has been in power for nearly ten years.
Lithuania, a country that gained its independence only a few years ago also suffered from a serious road safety problem. They trained and resourced a proper traffic police force and sent them out to deal with the idiots and killers.
In one year the death rate was reduce by half. Irish citizens are still waiting (After decades) for this simple but effective action. All we get is waffle – meanwhile the carnage continues.