herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

'This is Jake's legacy', says mother after new speed limits imposed

Chris and Roseann Brennan
Chris and Roseann Brennan

The brave mother who campaigned for lower speed limits on residential roads after the horrific death of her son has spoken of her joy as new speed limits were introduced.

Roseann Brennan said she "wants to cry with happiness" following the introduction of 30kmh speed limits in Dublin's city centre.

Ms Brennan lost her six-year-old son Jake in 2014, right outside the family's house in a cul-de-sac in Kilkenny.

Jake was hit by a car in front of his mother and father Chris.

Ms Brennan started a campaign called Jake's Legacy following the tragedy, to try and lower speed limits.

Jake Brennan, who died after being hit by a car in 2014
Jake Brennan, who died after being hit by a car in 2014

Limit

Yesterday, the 30kmh limit was introduced for residential areas in Dublin city centre.

The area included that bounded by the Grand Canal, Suir Road, South Circular Road - north of the Suir Road junction - Conyngham Road, Parkgate Street, Infirmary Road, North Circular Road - west of its junction with Dorset Road Lower - Dorset Street Lower and the Royal Canal.

Ms Brennan said the new limit "makes so much sense".

"It is every parent's worst nightmare to lose a child and even worse for them to be forgotten after they die," she said.

"Our little Jakey brought this issue to light and made us all highlight the massive problem."

Ms Brennan said "no one wants to live with regret in their lives due to a small mistake" that could have easily have been avoided.

"We really admire how Dublin City Council has made the speed limits such a priority," she said.

The mother of two said she was particularly delighted that the council told her Jake "had a direct impact" on bringing in the new limits. Meanwhile, the ruling will help "claim our streets back", according to the cycling and walking promotions officer for the council.

Sarah Scannell said the new limits "are amazing" and "it's up to us adults" to focus on our attitudes towards driving.

"We need to convince drivers to take that extra conscious effort and get away from the 'might be OK this time' attitude to taking short cuts," she said.

"Schools already do so much work, along with the Road Safety Authority (RSA). We need to bring in education programmes for drivers to help create a safer environment for kids."

Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the RSA, said Ireland was falling behind the rest of Europe, which is imposing 30kmh slow zones in cities.

She called on all local authorities around the country to introduce similar urban limits.

"It will make the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists and the benefits go beyond road safety and include economic, health and environmental benefits," she said.

"We hope that more local authorities will introduce more 30kmh zones in their areas."

DCC councillor Ciaran Cuffe said the new measures will help save lives.

Advantages

"We're responding to the wishes of residents. Parents want to be able to walk and cycle to school and older people want to cross the road in safety," he said.

One area that has already felt the advantages of the speed limit is Marino, and Mark Crowther of the Marino Residents Association said it has "prevented a rat run".

"We have a lot of people cutting into the housing estates avoiding the Malahide Road so it was important to slow them down," he said.

"A combination of the limit and speed ramps has helped us enormously. I didn't realise the effect on the environment."

Dick Brady, assistant chief executive of DCC, said it was now hoped to extend the speed limits to the suburbs.

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