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Friday 22 September 2017

SF accused of 'hypocrisy' over speed limit campaigns

Roseann Brennan outside Leinster House this afternoon and (inset) Jake Brennan
Roseann Brennan outside Leinster House this afternoon and (inset) Jake Brennan
Roseann Brennan campaigning outside the Dáil.
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Sinn Féin has been accused of "hypocrisy" for campaigning to have speed limits reduced in the Republic when its members opposed the same measures in Northern Ireland.

Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald has been leading her party's support for a campaign to reduced speeds in residential areas to 20kph.

The campaign was set-up by Roseann Brennan, whose six-year-old son Jake was killed when he was struck by a car outside his family home in Kilkenny.

A bill dubbed 'Jake's Law' was put before the Dáil by Sinn Féin and the Government has pledged not to oppose its passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas.

However, former SDLP councillor Josephine O'Hare said she was "ridiculed" by Sinn Féin when she brought a motion seeking to reduce speeds in housing estates to 20mph before Newry and Mourne District Council.

"They said it was unnecessary, unworkable and wouldn't do any good. I was very passionate about it and I was met with just ridicule," Ms O'Hare told the Irish Independent.

Ms O'Hare said she "shouted at the television" when she saw Sinn Féin was supporting the same measures she tried to introduce eight years ago.

"It brought it back to me how little they made of the motion we tried to put through eight years ago, and how many children would have been saved in the meantime if we had support," Ms O'Hare added.

Last night, Sinn Féin denied it opposed the bill and said it sought to amend the motion when it was brought before the local council.

The initial motion proposed by the SDLP called for the North's Minister for Regional Development and the Department of Regional Development to introduce 20mph speed limits in all residential areas.

The motion accepted by Sinn Féin was only to seek details of the impact of pilot projects in other areas where 20mph speed limits were introduced.

"There is legislation currently going through the assembly to reduce the speed limit to 20mph in residential areas, which Sinn Féin is supporting while at the same time moving similar legislation here in the Dáil," a Sinn Féin spokesman said.

Fianna Fáil's transport spokesman Timmy Dooley said he was pleased the important bill was getting all-party support.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said he was "touched" by Ms Brennan's campaign to reduce speed limits and he would not object to a bill which would make roads safer for children.

Irish Independent

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