herald

Wednesday 16 August 2017

Boy racers giving lifts to OAPs will never work – Gay

WARNING: Gay Byrne
WARNING: Gay Byrne

ROAD Safety Authority boss Gay Byrne says an Irish mayor's proposal for 'boy racers' to drive pensioners home from Mass and bingo is well-intentioned but unworkable.

Mr Byrne said the proposal from Killarney Mayor Cllr Paddy Courtney was "great in principle but won't happen because of all the ramifications".

Cllr Courtney (Ind) stunned rural rights campaigners and road safety officials by proposing that boy racers act as a transport service for pensioners in isolated areas.

He said they should 'adopt' a pensioner to provide a valuable transport option in areas lacking public transport services.

"If they want to be driving these cars, drive properly and mannerly. Maybe adopt a friend and maybe take a neighbour to the bingo or down to the pub for two pints and then take them home," he said.

"Maybe these boy racers and racer girls, as they are called, they can say this is an opportunity to show we can do some good," Cllr Courtney added.

PROPOSAL

However, the RSA boss said that while he could appreciate the benefits, he foresaw insurmountable problems.

"I think it is a kind, well-meaning proposal. But I think it will never happen because of the obvious ramifications," Mr Byrne said.

The former RTE star said transport was a major issue for the elderly in rural areas.

"Obviously if some young person is known to a pensioner and if they are a good, responsible driver, then the idea of offering them a lift to Mass or bingo or whatever is a kind and decent thing," he added.

Age Action also voiced major concerns at the idea.

"If pensioners do not know the driver, and also if the driver has a record or propensity to drive recklessly, then older people should not get into the car with them," Age Action director Gerry Scully said.

"I would urge a certain amount of caution and common sense to be adopted by the older person that if they don't feel secure with the person offering the lift they don't accept the offer."

Mr Scully said rural isolation was a serious problem and the idea could work if it was properly organised and young drivers were properly vetted.

hnews@herald.ie

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