TDs in war of words on rural driver issue

Danny Healy-Rae
John Brassil

TWO Kerry TDs have clashed in the fallout from the contentious Road Traffic Bill with Deputy Danny Healy-Rae accusing Deputy John Brassil of attempting to gain the high moral ground on the issue.

The Kilgarvan politician was reacting to comments made by Deputy Brassil on when he complained that learner drivers in Killarney have no option but to wait an average of 15 weeks to be called for their driving test but some are waiting up to 18 weeks.

“This is an everyday reality for people living in rural Ireland, where public transport is patchy or non-existent,” Deputy Brassil added.
He said a car is a necessity for many people, including those who need transport for work or to get to college.

But Deputy Healy-Rae said he was “flabbergasted” that the Fianna Fail TD has finally acknowledged that Minister Shane Ross’s Bill is adversely affecting provisional drivers who can’t drive on their own without a qualified driver with them, despite the fact that they are waiting undue lengths of time to be called for their driving tests.

“I want all the people of Kerry to know that just eight of us voted against Minister Ross’s Road Traffic Bill. 75 voted for it, including 11 Fianna Fail TDs and 74 abstained or went missing – Deputy Brassil was one of the 74,” Deputy Healy-Rae stressed.

“We all know that 99 per cent of fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts and other family members have their own jobs to do and have very little time to accompany provisional drivers.

“It must be remembered that we all started driving on a provisional licence, including Deputy Brassil, and I believe that every young person deserves a chance to get going in life,” hestated.

Deputy Healy-Rae said the tough new laws will have a big impact on drivers in rural Ireland leaving young provisional drivers stranded as they won’t be able to go on their own to work or college or take up apprenticeships.

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