herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Gardai 'not enforcing' 30kph city speed limit

row: Claim denied but councillors say law is 'unworkable'

Dublin city councillors opposed to the controversial 30kph speed limit claim that gardai have stopped its enforcement because it's unworkable.

A group of councillors who have repeatedly voted against the speed limit in core city areas say they have been getting less complaints from city residents because there are not as many gardai on the streets detecting car speeds.

But the claim is impossible to verify -- because gardai refuse to release figures for the number of fines or penalty points issued for breaching the limit in the 30kph zone.

Cllr Niall Ring (Independent) has on numerous occasions dubbed the speed limit "unenforceable" and "ridiculous," and he said the difference between 30 and 40kph is impossible to detect.

He told the Herald: "They're not [enforcing it]. Ask any garda how can you judge between 30 and 40 kph.

"It's unenforceable. I'm still getting a lot of calls and comments on how ridiculous it is. It's another hammer blow to motorists."

Cllr Ring has sent a submission on the Draft Development Plan 2011-2017 into Dublin city council, opposing the speed limit.

Cllr Christy Burke agreed: "I haven't seen any gardai monitor it, and I think it's because of the public outcry. To travel at 18 miles per hour is ludicrous."

"I want it brought back to the original speed limit. People are not complaining now because there's no enforcement, but as soon as it's enforced again, we'll get complaints again."

A garda spokesperson said however that they are enforcing the limit and they are doing detections just as much as they did when the limit was 50kph.

But the force can not release figures to the Herald on the number of speed offences committed under the new limit.

Cllr Bill Tormey (Fine Gael), who has been vehemently opposed to the speed limit since it was introduced describes it as "farcical".

"The fanatics in Dublin city council shouldn't be allowed to impose this on them. Basically the city centre is very safe, particularly with the articulated trucks gone off the streets."

"If pedestrians obeyed the traffic lights, it would be much safer and there wouldn't be a need for the 18.5 mph speed limit.

"We're talking about a primary route through the city centre, and the number of people living there is very small."

Conor Faughnan from AA Roadwatch is adamant that the speed limit is dangerous in certain locations, such as the hill on Christchurch where motorists are forced to slow down so much that they risk their cars cutting out.

"There are a number of key locations where the limit makes the drivers behave extremely counterintuitively -- they're driving so slowly that they're forced to brake and years ago they would have failed their driving test on progression.

"It has a bit of a sorry history. The city council vote went against us, so we are now stuck with the problem roads included in the scheme at least until July, when I hope they will be corrected."

Cllr Niall Ring added that anything which hampers drivers from accessing the city centre is bad for business in Dublin.

"I don't mind how people get into town, they can go on a magic carpet if they like, once they're spending in town. And now people just don't want to go into town.

"They can't travel at any reasonable speed, and there's the Bus Gate as well. Motorists are being given a raw deal in the city."

ggittens@herald.ie

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