Rural Independent T.D., Michael Healy-Rae, has welcomed the government U-turn on plans to introduce a system of graduated speeding fines.
He believes Ireland already has sufficient road traffic penalties, aligned with international best practice, to address speeding on our road network.
Speaking from his Kerry constituency, Deputy Healy-Rae stated:
“My Rural Independent colleagues and I have been challenging this government and the previous administration on this ludicrous proposal, which received cabinet or government approval in 2019.”
“The system would have imposed sanctions on drivers, according to the extent to which they exceeded the speed limit.”
The agreed proposal, included graduated speeding fines, meaning motorists caught speeding 10km over the limit would be hit with a €60 fine and two points, with penalties progressively harsher the faster a motorist drove.
Also, it included a new offence of driving more than 30kmh above the speed limit, resulting in a court prosecution, a €2,000 fine and seven penalty points.
“How the last Fine Gael government, with the support of Fianna Fáil, allowed this proposal to be agreed to in the first place is utterly reprehensible.”
“If it were implemented, it would have the effect of terrifying every motorist in the country and creating a police state situation for motorists.”
He highlighted that residents in rural Ireland rely mainly on the use of a motor vehicle to get around, due predominantly to the complete lack of public transportation.
“As such, the draconian nature of the graduated penalties would have had a much more significant impact across rural areas by hitting motorists with more severe penalties, based on how fast they were driving when they broke the speed limit.”
“How this proposal was approved by a government in the first place is mindboggling, as it was ill-conceived, confusing and complicated for motorists. We constantly raised all of these concerns in the Dáil and at every opportunity with the then Minister for Transport and his government colleagues, but they forced ahead regardless.”
“The scrapping of these proposals is certainly a small victory for rural Ireland. However, had it not been for the conviction and determination of the Rural Independents, then we fear that this U-turn would not have occurred.”
Concluding, Michael Healy-Rae said this illustrates the importance of having independent-minded rural TDs elected to the Dáil, to stand up to proposals, “which regularly emanate from a government primarily focused on assisting the area inside the M50”.