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‘It’s an insult to my little boy’: Families who lost loved ones to drunk-drivers slam politicians opposing new law

17/07/2017 | TheJournal.ie | Following a meeting with the RSA and road traffic victim support groups today, Shane Ross published his new drink-driving bill.

Following a meeting with the RSA and road traffic victim support groups today, Shane Ross published his new drink-driving bill.

“It’s an insult to my little boy.”

THE MOTHER of a four-year-old boy killed by a drunk driver in Co Laois has said opposition by some politicians to the new drink-driving Bill is “an insult” to her son.
Gillian and Ronan Treacy’s son, Ciarán, was killed by drunk-driver Finbarr O’Rourke on the afternoon of Thursday, 17 April 2014. O’Rourke had consumed up to 10 pints of cider. The Treacys were the faces of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) Christmas campaign last year, which urged people not to drink and drive.

Following a meeting with the Road Safety Authority and road traffic accident victim support groups today, Transport Minister Shane Ross published the Road Traffic Amendment Bill.
It will see an automatic three-month suspension handed down to those caught with 51-80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. Currently those caught within that limit are given penalty points.

A rural versus urban divide has emerged between some TDs and senators over the proposed new law, with some TDs saying it is unfair to those living in rural Ireland. Some critics have called the RSA figures into question, while others have said the focus needs to be on Garda enforcement, rather than a crackdown on drivers.

Insulting

“We opened our lives, our private lives 100% to the public, to just try and get the message across about the devastation that drink-driving can cause. It has been very effective, but it has also been a huge insult the last couple of weeks, to see the opposition to the Bill… it is an insult to my little boy, losing him, and my injuries, and all the other people who have lost people to drink-driving,” said Gillian.

One of the Bill’s most vocal critics has been Kerry TD Danny Healy Rae. In May, the Independent TD said that eating a big meal can be as dangerous as drink driving.

Last week he argued passionately that a driver who has consumed “two or three glasses” of beer represents no danger to the public, which resulted in clashing words between Healy Rae and families of those that had lost loved ones to road accidents.

Ann Fogarty from PARC Road Safety Group, who lost her husband, Edmund, in a road accident, finds Healy Rae’s words extremely offensive.

Anger at today’s meeting

She said families who attended today’s meeting were very angry at the narrative that some politicians are pushing. “People were very angry in there today, because we feel that we are not being listened to and the lives of our relatives are not being valued,” said Fogarty.
“Our lives out there and all of your lives out there are not being valued by those TDs who want to vote against this bill.”
“I will not in anyway engage with Danny Healy Rae,” she said, adding that some TDs are afraid to debate the issue.

‘Get off the pitch’

Publishing the bill this morning, the minister hit out against the vintner groups and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has accused the minister of trying to mislead the public – insisting that only 1.3% of road deaths involve people at the lower limit.

Speaking about those opposing his Bill, Ross said:

“I would call on the vintners who are opposing this Bill to get off the pitch.”

“I call on Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil to support the Bill. I know his heart is in the right place on issues of this sort and I can’t understand why Micheál Martin, [Fianna Fáil’s transport spokesperson] Robert Troy and others are opposing the measure, which will undoubtedly save lives.”
“So we are looking for their support and we will be campaigning for the support of many more.”

Tax breaks for publicans

In a bid to get ensure the new law proceeds through the Dáil, the minister said considerations are being given to the introduction of a tax break for publicans who agree to drive their customers home after a night out.
This idea was first put forward by Fianna Fáil’s Robert Troy during a committee debate on the issue at the beginning of the year.
In an interview with TheJournal.ie, Ross said the government may look at giving supports to publicans to help get their customers home.
He said all suggestions would be looked at, “but not if it is going to be very expensive”. Speaking on the matter today, Ross said all suggestions that could make it easier for people to get home at night would be considered.
The minister said he has asked for a meeting to be set up between the Insurance Federation and the VFI to establish if such measures can be facilitated in some way. “If this eases the process of the Bill, which means lives are saved, fair enough, we will look at it. We are very happy to look at any constructive suggestions along those lines,” he added.
Ross is pushing for a free vote on the Bill, but it is understood Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has demanded that ministers, junior ministers and super junior ministers support the Bill.

A decision on whether Varadkar will impose the whip for other Fine Gael TDs will be decided at a parliamentary meeting in the autumn.

by Christina Finn | TheJournal.ie |

http://www.thejournal.ie/drink-driving-bill-3500492-Jul2017/

 

Remedial action from the PAC is looming

Rumours were rumbling around Leinster House late on Friday: the old board of the CRC is about to give the two fingers to the Dail’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The departed directors know that they will be invited before the PAC this week.
Let us presume that the former governors/directors are not following the road of Rehab’s Angela Kerins and Frank Flannery. If they refuse to appear, another confrontation is looming.

PAC 19 12 13 Ross questions the HSE on their knowledge of top ups

Noble Vision Hijacked by FF Cronies

Did Charlie Haughey save the Central Remedial Clinic (CRC)? In 1987 Lady Valerie Goulding, CRC’s great founder, declared that “but for Charlie, we’d have no centre today”.

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Seanad Should Debate Relevant Issues Like Auctioneering, Autism, and Broadband

It is remarkable that the Seanad is talking itself into a situation where it never debates anything relevant. Time is not allocated to topical items, and we seem to debate subjects that are at times utterly irrelevant. It is not that we do not have major issues to discuss which demand time – the Broadband Bill; legislation to regulate the scoundrels in the auctioneering industry; the issue of autism. This is what I told the House during the Order of Business:

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Nurses Claim Exposes a Major Flaw in Social Partnership

I cannot understand the reluctance in both Houses of the Oireachtas to discuss the very delicate and sensitive nurses’ pay claim. The nurses should be conceded this claim, 10% or not, because they deserve it for good and humane reasons and because the market will demand the claim be conceded sooner or later.
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Sean Quinn: We Salute You!

State monopolies are on the run.

It is here, in the new Ireland, that we have bred fresh business heroes such as Sean Quinn.
Last week, Sean Quinn bought Bupa in a lightning deal. He thus dealt the would-be state monopoly VHI a series of blows:
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For a Hospital to be Located in Accordance with Political Convenience is Unacceptable

I congratulate the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Deputy Brian Lenihan, on his decision to review the location of the planned children’s hospital especially since the location proposed is the Mater Hospital, which is in the Taoiseach’s constituency

Some reports suggested that it was predestined to do so, which is quite alarming for others involved in the controversy.
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Threats to Standards and Ethos at Tallaght Hospital

While the Tallaght may be losing its children’s hospital, for some time there has been a certain amount of disillusionment in the hospital at the Government’s commitment to the agreements made in 1996.The main issue is that of tertiary paediatric care in the hospital and its removal.

There is a deep feeling in Tallaght that this will dismember the hospital. The Minister of State will not need any introduction to the fact that Tallaght has the largest growing child population in the country. It also has the highest number of women of child-bearing age. The threats to the child and maternity care in Tallaght are not just serious for the hospital and its prevalent ethos but also to the are. (more…)

Tallaght Hospital: A Critical Situation

The Tallaght hospital is in danger of being run down as plans for a new National Children’s hospital are finalised. The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children should come to the Seanad to discuss a variety of issues. I particularly seek a debate on the Adelaide Hospital. The leaders of the Adelaide Hospital are meeting the Taoiseach today about what they regard as a highly critical situation for the hospital. (more…)