Saturday 21 April 2018

Poignant display of smiling faces outside Leinster House - each a moving tribute to a life lost on Ireland's roads

Photos of some of victims who lost their lives in road crashes which were displaye at the vigil organised by the Irish Road Victims' Association Pic Tom Burke
Photos of some of victims who lost their lives in road crashes which were displaye at the vigil organised by the Irish Road Victims' Association Pic Tom Burke
Leo Lieghio, Clondalkin, father of 16 year old Marsia Lieghio who lost her life in a hit-and-run in October 2005 talks with Danny Healy-Rae, Independent deputy for Kerry Pic Tom Burke
Leo Lieghio,Clondalin, father of 16 year old Marsia Lieghio who lost her life in a hit-and-run in October 2005 talks with Danny Healy-Rae, Independent deputy for Kerry Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017
The parents of 16 year old Marsia Lieghio, Clondalkin who lost her life in a hit-and-run in October 2005, and their son Nathan Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017
Julie Patton,Drumkeen,Co.Donegal who lost her 18 year old son Shane in a road accident on the 12th.July 2012 Pic Tom Burke
Bobbie Callaghan, Donadea, Co.Kildare who lost parents Frank and Ger Loughran, in a car crash in 1982 Pic Tom Burke
Donna Price, Mullingar, Co.Westmeath, Founder and Chairperson of the Irish Road Victims' Association who lost her 18 year old son Darren in a car crash near Tyrellstown,Co.Westmeath in 2006 Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017
Joan Burton, TD with Donna Price, Mullingar, Co.Westmeath, Founder and Chairperson of the Irish Road Victims' Association who lost her 18 year old son Darren in a car crash near Tyrellstown,Co.Westmeath in 2006Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017
Photos of some of victims who lost their lives in road crashes which were displayed at the vigil organised by the Irish Road Victims' Association Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017

Cillian Sherlock and Niall O'Connor

Dozens of touching photographs depicting the victims of drink-driving deaths were displayed outside Leinster House yesterday.

The poignant vigil highlighted the impact of drink driving on the families of victims and was organised by members of the Irish Road Victims Association.

The rows of white picture frames each captured a smiling face of one of the victims in a moving tribute to their memory and their lost lives.

The portraits appeared outside the entrance to Leinster House in support of the Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s proposed new drink driving ban.

Donna Price, Mullingar, Co.Westmeath, Founder and Chairperson of the Irish Road Victims' Association who lost her 18 year old son Darren in a car crash near Tyrellstown,Co.Westmeath in 2006 Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017
Donna Price, Mullingar, Co.Westmeath, Founder and Chairperson of the Irish Road Victims' Association who lost her 18 year old son Darren in a car crash near Tyrellstown,Co.Westmeath in 2006 Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017

In a test of his leadership, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar avoided a Cabinet stand-off over the controversial road traffic legislation by recommending to his TDs and senators to back the proposal.

The bill will see the introduction of a three-month mandatory ban for motorists found to have reached an alcohol limit of between 50mg-80mg per 100ml.

Bobbie Callaghan, Donadea, Co.Kildare who lost parents Frank and Ger Loughran, in a car crash in 1982 Pic Tom Burke
Bobbie Callaghan, Donadea, Co.Kildare who lost parents Frank and Ger Loughran, in a car crash in 1982 Pic Tom Burke

At present, motorists detected to have reached this limit receive penalty points for their first offence.

Road safety groups are insisting the measures are necessary while opponents of the bill have said it will seriously impact the lives of people in rural Ireland.

Leo Lieghio,Clondalin, father of 16 year old Marsia Lieghio who lost her life in a hit-and-run in October 2005 talks with Danny Healy-Rae, Independent deputy for Kerry Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017
Leo Lieghio,Clondalin, father of 16 year old Marsia Lieghio who lost her life in a hit-and-run in October 2005 talks with Danny Healy-Rae, Independent deputy for Kerry Pic Tom Burke 11/7/2017

Notably in opposition is Independent TD for Kerry Danny Healy-Rae, who was confronted outside the Dáil by family members of drink-driving victims.

Deputy Healy Rae told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny Show yesterday that he believed driving after three glasses of beer was safe.

“Until the day I die, I don’t believe that anyone that has had just two or three glasses [of beer] – a pint-and-a-half – that they’re a liability on the road,” he said.

It is understood that the Government is willing to support rural publicans who may want to provide their own bus services to drinkers on Friday and Saturday nights.

Mr Varadkar will face his parliamentary party in September and ask them to back the plan. However, if enough backbench TDs express opposition, the Taoiseach may be forced to allow a free vote on the proposals which could result in a rural-urban split.

Online Editors

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