Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Road safety conference must produce concrete initiatives

23 September, 2004

Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has said that "concrete initiatives must be forthcoming if we are to address the crisis on our roads". Ms McDonald was speaking as a road safety conference was due to take place in Dublin today, attended by the Transport and Justice ministers, the Garda Commissioner and officials from both the National Roads Authority and National Safety Council.

Speaking today, Ms McDonald said:

"Today's conference on road safety whilst welcome is long overdue. So far this year, 292 people have died on our roads and the carnage shows no signs of easing. The most disturbing element of these statistics is that many of these deaths were preventable. That it has taken this long to organise a road safety summit is an absolute disgrace.

"Sinn Féin has long called for a multi agency approach to this epidemic and today‚s road safety summit must produce a practical way forward - concrete initiatives must be forthcoming if we are to address the crisis on our roads.

"That many of these accidents are happening during weekend nights shows where resources are needed. The Minister for Justice needs to make the funds available so that the Gardai can adequately tackle this unacceptable situation. The apparent over emphasis in placing speed cameras and patrols on motorways and dual carriageways, which are acknowledged as the safest roads in the country, makes no sense when the majority of accidents are happening on other national and secondary routes throughout the country.

"The fact so many young people are involved in these accidents also indicates that we need to address the problem from an educational point of view. All young people before leaving school should be fully versed in the rules of the road from the perspectives of a pedestrian, a cyclist and a motorist and where possible be given practical tuition.

"Sinn Féin also reiterates our call for the implementation of initiatives throughout Ireland to improve road safety, including the standardising across the island of road safety measures, road signs, speed limits and a one points system to cover the whole island." ENDS

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