Belfast Telegraph

Bereaved mother attacks politicians blocking zero tolerance to drink-driving

Politicians who stand in the way of zero tolerance to drink-driving are endangering lives, the mother of a road crash victim has claimed.

Gillian Treacy, who has been appointed to the board of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), warned that dangerous drivers and those who drive under the influence of alcohol need to be put off the roads.

Ms Treacy, whose four-year-old son Ciaran was killed by a drunk driver in Co Laois in 2014, was given the role by Transport Minister Shane Ross, along with another prominent campaigner Donna Price.

Ms Price's 18-year-old son Darren was killed in a car crash in March 2006. She founded the Irish Victims' Association six years later.

The new RSA members vowed to bring a human perspective to their job, including the minister's attempts to legislate for automatic three-month bans for driving under the influence.

Ms Treacy said: "Any TD that's holding us back, as Minister Ross said, is putting other people's lives at danger.

"We need to eradicate these drunk drivers, dangerous drivers off the roads.

"Anyone who goes against this bill is an insult to my little son Ciaran and any other family that has lost a loved one through actions of a drink-driver or a dangerous driver."

Ms Price said she simply cannot understand people not backing a zero tolerance to drink-driving.

"To lose a child to an incurable disease is one thing but to lose a child to something preventable is soul-destroying. We're now compelled (to do something)," she said.

A review of the Government's Road Traffic Strategy 2013-2020 was published alongside the announcement of the new RSA board members.

It warned that road deaths would increase without enforcement of what it described as the main killer behaviours of speeding, drink-driving and non-seat belt wearing.

The review called for disqualified drivers to be named and shamed and funding to be secured to improve dangerous roads.

Mr Ross praised the campaigners appointed to the RSA.

"Their bravery in the face of personal tragedy has already inspired others and made many aware of the significant dangers on our roads.

"Their passion and their personal experience will drive the board to take further measures in pursuit of saving lives," he said.

"Whilst we had a reduction in road deaths last year, 158 is 158 too many".

RSA chairman Liz O'Donnell called for more gardai in road traffic enforcement.

"Road fatalities are down for 2017 and that has to be welcomed but we've a long way to go to get to our target," she said.

"The gardai are our key collaborators in reducing fatalities on our roads and we have been very concerned that the numbers of the Garda Siochana have been diminished."

"Before the recession we had roads policing, exclusively, we had 1,200, we now have 681.

"We need more gardai, we need high-profile gardai, to make people change their behaviour through fear of being prosecuted and being caught."

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph