Cork mother says delaying drink driving bill is ‘costing lives’

Cork mother says delaying drink driving bill is ‘costing lives’

Christina Donnelly with a picture of her son Brendan, who was killed in a car crash involving a drunk driver. Picture: Denis Scannell

THE mother of a man killed by a drunk driver in Castlemartyr in 2009 said politicians attempting to delay the passage of a road safety bill are a ‘disgrace’.

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill is set to introduce a mandatory driving ban for a first drink driving offence if a motorist has a blood alcohol level of above 50 milligrams/100 millilitres, but it has been sharply criticised by a number of rural TDs.

Christina Donnelly’s 24-year-old son, Brendan, and his friend died after Brendan’s vehicle was hit by the car of a drunk driver, who was travelling on the wrong side of the road.

She told the Evening Echo she does not know how the TDs involved sleep at night.

“I find it hard to comprehend, most of them that oppose it would be family men,” she said.

“But until it knocks on their door they can have no idea how families are absolutely traumatised for life.”

Rural isolation and the death of the rural pub are frequently mentioned by opponents of changes to the law, but Ms Donnelly rejects these arguments.

“If they are concerned about the elderly in rural areas, that they can’t get to the pub for a pint, let the councillors in these areas organise a taxi or minibus to ensure these folks aren’t isolated,” she said. “That will get them to the pub and safely home again. They can spend thousands on roads so why not the elderly community in their areas. That excuse is gone by the wayside.”

She said hearing arguments against a bill which she passionately believes will save lives, makes her re-live the trauma of hearing about Brendan’s death all over again.

“You actually go back to the day you got that phone call or knock on the door and it fills you with anger, you literally want to scream with anger,” she said.

“I find it deeply insulting, not just to the memory of my son Brendan, a fine young man of 24.

RSA boss Liz O’Donnell said the delaying tactics of the TDs involved were costing lives and Ms Donnelly agrees: “They have got to stop wasting valuable time, I think they are a disgrace.”

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