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City on go slow as gardai out in force for new 30kph zone

GARDAI declared war on speeding motorists today as they enforced new 30kph speed limits in Dublin city centre.

Before 7am, a mobile Garda Gatso unit was stationed outside Dublin City Council's headquarters on Wood Quay to nab anyone exceeding the new limit.

The Herald witnessed up to 10 camera flashes from the back of the van within the space of four minutes as motorists were caught.

The 30kph limit now applies within an area from Bolton Street on the Northside to Kevin Street on the Southside.

It also stretches from Church Street and Bridge Street in the west to Gardiner Street and Dawson Street in the east.

It had been in place already in pedestrian-heavy areas like Clarendon Street and South William Street.

One of the first 'victims' of the new measure declared she was extremely unhappy.

"I'm really quite upset. I had been watching my speed earlier but as I drove past the garda van, I was flashed," said Lisa Dowdall, speaking at the wheel of her Hyundai car at 8am.


"I looked down at my speedometer and saw I was doing just over the 30," she said.

The garda vehicle remained in position during the morning, emitting frequent flashes as cars and vans accelerated away from traffic lights on Capel Street Bridge.

Conor Faughnan of AA Roadwatch told the Herald it is "ridiculous" to hand out penalty points for exceeding 30kph on the quays.

"It will be unfair but we're just going to have to live with it," he added.

Mr Faughnan said earlier the council was seeking to solve a problem "that doesn't exist".

The quays are "one of the safest stretches of road in the entire country".

"The average speed (in the city centre) is only 11 or 12kph," Mr Faughnan said, adding "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

However, Labour councillor Andrew Montague, who is chair of the council's transport and traffic committee, said there are large numbers of traffic lights in the area.

"We are setting the traffic lights so if you're going faster than 30kph you'll be racing to a red traffic light. If you go at a steady 30kph you'll keep hitting green traffic lights," Mr Montague said.

"We're talking about the part of the country that has the highest concentration of pedestrians in the entire country," he added.

Mr Montague said the zone in question has one of the highest accident rates, contrary to what Mr Faughnan argued.

"Two to three people are killed every year in this area. We have dozens of injuries."

This morning, cyclists were able to keep abreast of vehicles as many vehicles floated sedately along the roads.

Cyclist Bernie Furlong from the North Strand said she was delighted with the slowdown: "If I was mayor, I would ban all cars from the city centre. The roads will be safer now. It's great."