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Gerry O'Carroll: 30kmh ... it must be April Fool

When I first heard Dublin City Council's edict on speed limits, I had to check my calendar to ensure that it wasn't an April Fool's joke.

The proposal for a 30kph speed limit in the city was outlandish, hare-brained and ill-conceived and was rightly met with incredulity and disbelief by the motoring public.

And so it is with a sigh of relief that I learned of plans to debate the new laws at the next city council meeting. It seems Dublin City Council may be gearing up for a U-turn, and not a moment too soon.

The reasons for the limit were like a sieve -- they just didn't hold water.

Chief among them was the suggestion that it would increase footfall in the city centre and increase retail profits. Now the powers that be have been left with egg on their faces as the limit has had the opposite effect.

I also fail to believe the rationale that it would have cut down on deaths on the streets of the capital.

AA Roadwatch's Conor Faughnan refuted that, pointing out that Dublin streets are the safest in the State.

Motorists may have accepted the 30kph limit had it been imposed for limited periods during rush hour, but a 24/7 plan was nothing short of lunacy.

Sure, in the early 20th century there were stage coaches and carriages going through the city centre at much faster speeds than the current traffic.

I was delighted to see the public voicing outrage, and such is the furore that the introduction of the speed limit has created a debacle. Thank heavens for people power. The council has now been left in a well-deserved, deeply embarrassing position, and a humiliating climbdown is on the cards.

I should point out that I am staunchly in favour of any move that would increase road safety and help protect all who use our roads, but this isn't one of them.