Galway TDs Sean Canney and Michael Fitzmaurice have been described as “disgraceful and self-serving” by the Road Safety Authority for their opposition to the Road Traffic Amendment Bill this week.
In a statement from Chairperson of the RSA Liz O’Donnell the RSA says that TDs delaying the Bill are putting people on the road in danger, “Quite simply, it’s costing lives.”
The Bill will enforce a mandatory driving ban for people convicted of a first time drink driving offence if their blood alcohol level is over 50mg per 100ml of blood.
Under current law a first time offender gets a fine and penalty points for a blood alcohol level up to 80mg per 100ml.
Both Deputy Fitzmaurice and Deputy Canney voted against the bill when it was being debated in the Dáil on Tuesday.
Speaking on Wednesday Deputy Fitzmaurice said the Bill is an attack on rural Ireland and that the government should focus on improving driver training rather than increasing penalties.
“Is there anything wrong with having places in the east, west, north and south of the country where they could go for a two-day intensive course to get them on the road and to make sure they are safe.
“The Minister should do this by encouraging people, not by the heavy hand. He should make sure he brings people with him, especially youngsters.”
However, Chairperson O’Donnell is accusing rural TDs who oppose the bill of being out of touch with the will of their constituents.
“These Deputies are showing utter contempt for Road Safety and are not reflecting the views of the vast majority of the people of rural Ireland.
“It must be heart breaking and offensive to the bereaved families left to rebuild what is left of their devastated lives.”
Deputy Canney’s vote against the Bill is also putting more strain on his relationship with the Independent Alliance, which is in favour of the Bill.
The Independent Alliance has given Deputy Canney until today to decide if he is to remain in the group.