herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Speed limit plan 'tramples on my Jake's legacy'

Paschal Donohoe,TD,the Minister for Transport,,Environment and Local Government with Christoper and Roseann Brennan, from Lintown Groves, Kilkenny whose six-year old son Jake died following an accident whilst playing outside his home on June 12, 2014. Photo: Tom Burke
Paschal Donohoe,TD,the Minister for Transport,,Environment and Local Government with Christoper and Roseann Brennan, from Lintown Groves, Kilkenny whose six-year old son Jake died following an accident whilst playing outside his home on June 12, 2014. Photo: Tom Burke

ROSEANN Brennan has accused Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe of "trampling" on her son's legacy with plans for 'slow zones' that will not introduce the compulsory speed limits she wants.

Jake Brennan was just six when he was killed in a road accident outside his family home in Kilkenny last year.

Since his death his heartbroken mum has lobbied extensively for strict, compulsory speed limits in housing estates with her Jake's Law campaign.

Yesterday, the Minister for Transport unveiled new guidelines for 'slow zones' across the country in urban areas.

Option

The move will now allow local authorities to avail of an option to implement a 30kmh speed limit in residential areas if they deem it necessary.

Roseann (30) expressed her disappointment with the move because it failed to make the new limits mandatory.

"Whatever about saying something to me, he trampled on my baby's memory, on my baby's legacy," she told the Herald. "All he's done is give them (local authorities) guidelines," she said.

Roseann - who wants a compulsory 20kph speed limit in housing estates - said she felt "let down" by the 'slow zone' plan.

A spokeswoman for Minister Donohoe said that he would not be responding to Ms Brennan's claim that he had trampled on her son's legacy.

However, the spokeswoman pointed out that the 20kph speed limit is still set to be introduced via the upcoming Road Traffic Bill that is currently at the committee stage of the legislative process.

This legislation will not make the lower limit mandatory, but will allow councils the option to introduce the new limits where they deem it appropriate.

"Minister Donohoe is a firm believer that the people best charged to assess the speed limit in local areas is the local authority," the spokesperson said.

A blanket mandatory speed limit would be difficult to implement as there is no legal definition of a housing estate, according to the department.

Meanwhile, Ms Brennan also criticised the fact that private housing estates are exempt from the guidelines.

Only public roads are covered by legislation.

However, speaking last night on Today FM, the minister expressed hope that private estates would embrace any measures that contribute to road safety.

Review

Last month the Government pledged €2m to help local authorities introduce changed speed limits after conducting a review at the behest of the department.

Ms Brennan yesterday reiterated her argument that this funding isn't enough to cover the cost of lowering speed across all housing estates in the country.

She said that Kilkenny alone will need €250,000 to bring in the limits, adding: "€2m is pennies for all county councils".

However, according to the minister's office, there will be a further allocation of funds in 2016, if it is required.

hnews@herald.ie

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