Roseanne and Chris Brennan, parents of Jake, a six year old boy killed in a road accident outside his home in Kilkenny finish a three day protest outside the Dáil at 6.25 pm today. They have been joined by friends and family in their efforts to have speed limits in housing estates reduced from 50km/h to 20km/h.
Questions have been asked as to how the limit would be imposed but Roseann Brennan feels there is more than one answer to that issue. ‘You say to the County Council, there’s a problem with speed in our area. They come in and put in a camera for 48 hours. At the moment they judge the speed on fifty kilometres. Now they would have to judge the speed on twenty.’ Speed ramps would be used in areas where speed was judged to be excessive. As Roseanne states, ‘I’m not saying every housing estate needs them but there are housing estates crying out for them.’ Her wider aim is to change attitudes to the speed limit, saying ‘ If you fly around a housing estate now, over time it will not be acceptable.’
A motion tabled by Sinn Fein TDs Mary Lou McDonald and Dessie Ellis to lower the current housing estate speed limit to 30km/h was discussed on Tuesday evening and there will be a vote taken on it tonight.
Roseann has organised a gathering of campaigners every week and has been continuously proactive, saying, ‘I’ve been up and down over six months. I met the minister for Transport five times, the Taoiseach, the Minister for Children and the Minister for Environment.’ She adds,
‘I knocked on someone’s door and said the chap that is picking up your young lad is flying in. And she said, well I wouldn’t do fifty myself but you can’t take the law into your own hands. If he’s allowed to do fifty he’s allowed to do fifty.’
Pascal Donohoe, Minister for ~Transport last night released a statement in support of the bill but stated:
“In cases where residential roads are major traffic thoroughfares it may not be appropriate to designate these as 20 or 30 km/h zones, not least because it is unlikely that such limits would be observed. For reasons such as these, it is my view that it would be more appropriate to allow local authorities the freedom to decide where lower speed limits should apply, rather than imposing mandatory limits.’
To Roseann, the importance of the 20km/h limit is paramount. Where children are playing in housing estates she states, ‘At least if you do hit them, you’ll have more stopping distance and they will get to walk away with just injuries. Our kids deserve to be safe while they play and they deserve to make mistakes and walk away.’