Friday 6 December 2019

TDs opposing speeding Bill 'need to have their heads examined', says father of girl (16) killed in hit-and-run

Leo Lieghio, from the Irish Road Victims Association, whose daughter Marsia died aged 16 after she was the victim of a hit-and-run (Photo: Naoise Culhane)
Leo Lieghio, from the Irish Road Victims Association, whose daughter Marsia died aged 16 after she was the victim of a hit-and-run (Photo: Naoise Culhane)
Mícheál Ó Scannáil

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

THE FATHER of a girl killed in a hit-and-run said that TDs opposing Shane Ross’ speeding Bill ‘need to have their heads examined’.

Leo Lieghio’s daughter Marsia was just 16 when she was knocked over and fatally injured in Clondalkin, Dublin on October 16, 2005.

She was struck by a heroin addict who left the scene of the crash and who had been convicted a year earlier of drink driving and unlicensed driving.

A graduated speeding penalties plan was approved yesterday after debate in the Cabinet.

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Before the Bill was debated, however, Fine Gael TDs criticised it as an attack on rural Ireland.

Read More: 'If the TD was prepared to be named, I'd answer the question of war'- Shane Ross said he hasn't been contacted by penalty points opposition

Marsia Lieghio
Marsia Lieghio

Mr Lieghio said that he couldn’t understand the logic behind the TDs opposing to new Bill which he said might have saved his daughter.

“I can’t for the life of me understand why some politicians would be against this,” he said.

“This is going to punish people accordingly, and those at the lower limit are actually going to get a lower punishment. To me it’s a no-brainer.

“No one can comment on road safety until you have experienced a loss. I think it’s absolutely selfish. There’s a smell of the election coming up.”

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
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

“My daughter’s death could have absolutely been different if there were more stringent laws in place,” he continued.

“Let’s face it, if there was more enforcement out there road deaths would half.

“But the enforcement isn’t there so they have to bring out some deterrence. At least it will make some people stop and think, but at the moment people aren’t afraid of anything. They’re just going to carry on as always.”

Mr Lieghio spoke to Transition Year students at a road safety event in Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun.

The students had the opportunity to experience, in virtual reality, a car crash and the realistic resulting aftermath for passengers, depending on the safety precautions they followed.

According to the students, however, it was Mr Lieghio’s account of his daughter’s death which really struck a chord. Speaking to Independent.ie after pleading with the students to never drink and drive, Mr Lieghio also took aim at rural TDs fighting the drink driving laws in Ireland.

“The Healy-Raes - it’s always the same with them - rural Ireland vs Dublin,” he said.

“There is absolutely no excuse for it. I don’t care what the Healy-Raes say. People’s lives are more important than being able to have a few drinks and driving.”

“Most of the country’s road death happen in rural Ireland,” he continued.

“If he wanted to do the best for him constituency, he would be doing everything he can for road safety instead of promoting drink.

“We’re trying to educate young people against drink driving and speeding and he comes along and says it’s OK to have two or three drinks. That man, and the TDs coming out against the speeding laws, need to have their heads examined.”

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