Wednesday, 4 July 2018
Heritage Bill 2016: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage
There has been a reasonable level of debate on this Bill in committee and in the Dáil. Some Members consider there has not been enough debate on it but I do not know how long more they want to talk about it. There will be an extended burning season. Hopefully, Muintir na Tire will work on plans with the Garda and the farmers and there will be properly controlled burning in the future. I hope that will be the successful outcome of the extended burning season.
A previous speaker said that we had held up the passage of the road traffic Bill. I spoke for 29 minutes in nine months on that issue, which works out at three minutes a month. That did not hold up the passage of the Bill. We started with nothing when we began to debate that Bill and now we have secured €400,000 for rural transport and another 40 or 50 new driver instructors. We have gained. Hopefully, if we can spend another few months on it, we might get more for rural Ireland.
I have been calling for many years for each local authority to carry out a survey of roadside trees, which have caused a number of deaths but, unfortunately, that is not happening. We need to address that issue. When there is a storm trees pose a hazard and can cause of a major accident.
Quite a number of urban Deputies visit my constituency during the summer months because of the beauty of the landscape. We do not want our community turned into Jurassic Park. We are trying to continue to live there in a normal manner. There has been a lack of understanding about this issue. If one was in my area for a while, one would see people out with streamers cutting back verges leading out onto roadways every night of the week. That is crazy. It is very important for people to have the possibility to extend the period for the cutting of roadside verges. I guarantee Members that if a referendum was held on that, it would have a landslide victory in rural Ireland. It is a common sense issue.