Saturday 21 April 2018

'The difference between 50 km/h and 30 km/h is a broken leg and a child dying in his mammy’s arms' - Roseann Brennan

Roseann Brennan with Ciaran Cuffe. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Roseann Brennan with Ciaran Cuffe. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

David Kearns

A grieving mum whose son died after he was struck by a car has slammed Minister for Transport Shane Ross for a breakdown in progress over compulsory speed limits in housing estates.

Jake Brennan was just six when he was killed in a road accident outside his family home in Kilkenny in June 2014.

His mother Roseann (31) has lobbied extensively for strict 30kph speed limits in residential areas with her ‘Jake’s Law’ campaign ever since.

“I’ve been calling his [Shane Ross’s] office everyday since he became transport minister because the pressure needs to be kept up,” she told the Herald.

“When Paschal Donohoe was minister, we were working towards something but it’s been seven months now, and we’ve heard nothing.

“There’s been no progress. If the Minister changes, does that mean we’ve got to start all over?

Jake Brennan aged 6 who was killed in a road traffic collision at Lintown Grove Kilkenny
Jake Brennan aged 6 who was killed in a road traffic collision at Lintown Grove Kilkenny

“That’s not how it should be ... I didn’t just work with one man, I worked with an office.”

Ms Brennan was speaking at the launch of a public consultation ahead of Dublin City Council’s plans to roll out a limit of 30kph in residential areas.

She said that without support from Minister Ross such a measure would not be adopted on a national level due to private estates being exempt from council guidelines.

“Our housing estate where [Jake] was killed is still 50kph  because the county council can’t touch it. We, like a lot of families in Kilkenny, live in a private estate.

“I was asked at my little boy’s inquest [in March] if there was anything we’d like to see come of his death, and we said a speed limit of 30kph that was mandatory in all housing estates.

“This is why the Minister needs to get involved because no matter what Dublin [City] Council do – they could change the entire city – they still can’t touch the private estates.”

Frustrated by “endless voicemails”, Ms Brennan said she had lost count of the messages she had left with the minister’s personal secretary.

“Not once did [Ross] pick up the phone ... but then there’s a press release about DCC’s plan and my involvement and suddenly I get a phone call reassuring me that I’m down for a meeting, at some point.

“I just found the timing odd and I’m hoping that I haven’t  just been spun a few lines to keep me happy.”

She added: “All the emails and phone calls, I’ll make public if I don’t hear anything back.

“At this stage, I’m angry because last year Paschal Donohoe pledged €2m to help support local authorities implement speed limits … my heart broke when I saw €500,000 was left over because some councils didn’t see a need for compulsory speed limits.

“That’s why we need [Ross] to get involved. Without a national rollout, we’re basically saying some children’s lives are worth more than others.

“The difference between 50kph and 30kph is a broken leg against a child passing away in his mammy’s arms begging not to die.”

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