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Morgan questions Dempsey’s ability to oversee Road Safety Policy

31 October, 2007


Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan has questioned Transport Minister Noel Dempsey's ability to oversee the new Road Safety Policy. Speaking in the Dáil this evening the Louth TD said the Minister's humiliating u-turn on the proposals affecting provisional licence holders seems to be just another in a string of farcical events in the Department of Transport with officials and their so-called break down in communication over the Shannon debacle being exposed last week.

Deputy Morgan said, "Minister Dempsey, with his ill thought-out and rash plan, showed how out of touch he really is with the daily lives of thousands of drivers who hold provisional licences. His humiliating u-turn seems to be just another in a string of farcical events in the Department of Transport with officials and their so-called break down in communication over the Shannon debacle being exposed last week.

"Many provisional licence holders have no option but to drive alone and unsupervised due to inadequate public transport and/or a backlog of months to sit their driving test.

"The onus is now on the government to sort out the long driving test waiting times. This situation has not occurred overnight, but has been simmering for years. Fianna Fáil have for years presided over a system whereby a person could drive to a test centre, do their driving test, fail miserably and drive back home. This is ludicrous.

"Sorting out this driving licence mess is just one step to improving road safety. The government must invest significantly to update and improve the condition of our roads and eradicate accident black-spots. The government must try to end the culture of speeding through increased traffic patrols at such spots and strategic use of speed cameras. The government must also try to end the culture of impaired driving with a zero alcohol and drug limit and the provision of more public transport especially in rural areas.

"Road Safety policy is crucial as it saves lives and, given his recent performances, I would question Minister Dempsey's ability to oversee such policy." ENDS

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