Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport
Road Safety Strategy: Discussion
I welcome the Minister to the committee this morning. The document he has brought before us was expected. I listened to the Minister in a television interview after Christmas following an admittedly tragic period of a major number of road accidents and fatalities. It is like what we had yesterday with regard to the hospitals. Is this throwing good money after bad to fix a problem? Is it a knee-jerk reaction to enforce a total ban on drink driving? Is the Minister going down the right road? It is ironic that he is also the Minister responsible for tourism. One of the flagship advertisements abroad is about the hospitality that people get when they come to this country in local pubs and bars when they can meet the local people. No one condones drinking and driving to the extent that has happened. Of the increasing rate of accidents the Minister mentioned, I do not know what the drink levels in these people were.
Other issues should be looked at. There is no mention in this of whether there is more money going to our roads. There is no mention of the fact that in the last couple of years, there are more people driving on the roads as there are more people back at work, be it in the night time, the morning or whenever. What is the Minister doing with regard to our road infrastructure? It is coming under pressure. I am concerned. No one condones driving over the drink limit and never did. The issue is whether we are taking another shot a rural Ireland. Rural Ireland is coming under pressure.
It is a great document. It hits the nail on the head with regard to how the Minister hopes to resolve and reduce road traffic accidents.
However, the big issue is the condition of our roads and usage. How does the Minister respond to that?