Tuesday 23 July 2019

'It's very frustrating' - Clancy family 'disappointed' as tougher legislation for learner drivers delayed in Dáil

Fiona Clancy and Susan Gray
Fiona Clancy and Susan Gray
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Tougher legislation which would clamp down on learner drivers has been delayed in the Dáil today.

The legislation which would allow for the prosecution of anyone who permits an unaccompanied learner driver to use their car and the seizure of the vehicle involved was due to come before the Dáil.

Members of the Clancy family attended Leinster House this morning to support the so-called Clancy Amendment.

However, Transport Minister Shane Ross said the amendment was not yet ready to be put to the Dáil at the committee stage.

Speaking outside the Dáil today, Fiona Clancy, who lost her mother and sister in an horrific collision involving an unaccompanied learner driver said that the delay was "frustrating".

"It's very frustrating that the amendment was delayed. It's a very drawn out process. When you think you've overcome a hurdle, you have to go through another stage. I'm very disappointed today but I'm hopeful in the coming weeks that we'll see some more progress."

Geraldine (58) and Louise (22) Clancy drowned when their vehicle plunged into a flooded ditch after a collision with another vehicle being driven by an unaccompanied learner driver.

The Clancy family have since been a driving force behind the demand for tough new road safety legislation.

"Changes are needed. I'm 100pc confident that my mother and sister would be alive today if the law was taken seriously. More serious determents need to be put in place."

Fiona urged all learner drivers not to drive without a qualified driver.

"Do not drive unaccompanied. You are putting yourself and other innocent people in danger. You may think you are good enough to drive and you might think you know the roads, but just don't drive without a qualified driver. Just don't do it."

Susan Gray, founder of PARC road safety group, also attended the Dáil today and has been campaigning for tougher penalties for learner drivers.

"I lost my husband Stephen in a crash in Donegal when an unaccompanied learner driver ploughed into him. The injuries he suffered were horrific. The learner driver continued to drive unaccompanied. I reported it to the gardai and they said 'Mrs Gray, sure half of the country is doing it'. That is not an appropriate answer to give a widow left with two children.

"We're disappointed that the minister couldn't produce the amendments today. He said they are still with the Attorney General but he assured us that he's confident that the Attorney General will have them ready within the next two weeks.

"We had a long talk with Shane Ross today and he assured us that he will be producing these amendments at report stage shortly. Hopefully that will ensure that our family members, who are lying in their graves, haven't died in vain.

"We call on all TDs to support the Clancy Amendment as it will safe lives and prevent injuries on our roads."

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