Media reports today suggest that Transport Minister, Shane Ross is to examine a proposal put forward by the Department’s Junior Minister, Brendan Griffin TD to allow convicted drink-drivers who are banned from driving to apply for a limited licence.
Commenting in response, Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Transport, Robert Troy TD has said, “The suggestion to study the system currently in place in New Zealand whereby a person convicted of drink-driving could seek a licence to drive in some instances is a very belated decision. It is merely a consequence of the disproportionate penalty that he introduced in 2018.
“It is frustrating to learn that the Minister is only now willing to examine this proposal considering my party colleagues and I offered robust and constructive policy proposals at various stages in the Oireachtas but every one of those ideas were dismissed and rejected by him.
“During Dáil debate on road traffic legislation last year, the Minister was warned on a number of occasions that his proposals were disproportionate and was advised on the need to bring forward alternative proposals for rural transport. Just this week Minister Ross refused to attend an Oireachtas meeting to discuss these matters.
“While the New Zealand system may have merit in certain circumstances, say for instance if a driver was found to be marginally over the limit, but the reality is that the sanction should in itself be the deterrent. It’s disappointing that months on from having had useful opportunities to examine and debate alternative amendments, the Minister is coming up with ideas and only now starting to listen.
He concluded, “The majority of people don’t stand to benefit from Minister Ross insisting on forging transport policy on a whim and without taking on board the oppositions view.”