Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy's anger over claim about road deaths
REGIONAL Development Minister Danny Kennedy has strongly denied saying people have to die before traffic calming measures can be sanctioned.
The DUP's Brenda Hale made the claim as a Stormont committee discussed a Private Member's Bill aimed at introducing a 20mph speed limit in residential areas.
The Lagan Valley MLA said: "Hillsborough in my constituency is a village absolutely plagued by HGVs and too many cars using it as a rat run. When I speak to the minister about traffic calming measures and trying to reduce the traffic, his reply to me is that, until they give him a dead body, there is nothing he can do.
"I really hope that we do not have to offer the minister any more bodies before he will act."
The SDLP MLA behind the proposed law said she had a point.
Pat Ramsey said: "It is the case that unless a particular road or junction has a history of serious road accidents, or fatalities, it is by no means certain that traffic calming measures would be introduced."
But Mr Kennedy strongly refuted making any such comments. "I take issues of road safety and traffic calming very seriously and have never or would ever make comments which are so insensitive and inconsiderate," he said.
And a DRD Roads Service spokeswoman added: "We remain committed to reducing the number of casualties on our roads, and safety is a major consideration in all aspects of our work. Collision history is only one of a number of factors assessed when considering the need for the introduction of traffic calming measures."
Mr Ramsey, whose brother Ray and sister-in-law Michelle died in a road accident almost 20 years ago, is hoping to meet Mr Kennedy and Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to see if legislation can be introduced.
* SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey plans a Private Member's Bill to reduce speed in residential areas to 20mph
* A pedestrian hit by a vehicle travelling at 20mph has a one-in-40 chance of being killed by the impact – or a 97.5% chance of surviving
* The chances of a pedestrian being killed by a car travelling at 30mph rise to sharply one-in-five, with only an 80% chance of survival.