Politicians are ‘against legislation to save lives’ on roads – Shane Ross

Four people have died on Irish roads so far this year.
Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

11.28 5 Jan 2024

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Politicians are ‘against legis...

Politicians are ‘against legislation to save lives’ on roads – Shane Ross

Robert Kindregan
Robert Kindregan

11.28 5 Jan 2024

Share this article

Politicians across the main political parties are “against legislation to save lives on Irish roads," according to a former Transport Minister.

On Newstalk Breakfast today, Shane Ross said he experienced political resistance from all sides of the Dáil when bringing in drink-driving legislation.

Four people have died on Irish roads already this year and Mr Ross said the current road safety campaign “is just not working”.


“We’re doing the opposite of making headway on road safety,” he said.

“There were 184 deaths last year which is up 19% on 2022.

“We’re making no progress and that’s in light of the fact we had a Christmas safety campaign, during which 14 people died.”


Mr Ross said enforcement attempts are just “not working” anymore.

“People who are determined to drink and drive are still drinking and driving,” he said.

“The drink driving figures over this campaign were somewhere in the region of 1,800 people detected.

“5,000 people [were detected] for speeding - it’s become an epidemic.”

People are taking advantage of publicly known issues within An Garda Síochána, according to Mr Ross.

“We know that the Garda traffic figures are down and that’s absolutely staggering when we have people being killed in increasing numbers,” he said.

“It feeds through to people in pubs, they know that patrols won’t be out as they heard it on the radio.

“That is absolutely tragic that the message going out is that people can drink and drive.”

Drink driving

The former Transport Minister said he spent his life “trying to get on top of this” before retiring from politics in 2020.

“We brought in drink driving legislation, bringing down the limits despite huge political opposition during the last Government,” said Mr Ross.

“There is massive political resistance from individuals and backbenchers of both of the main political parties to erode legislation to restrict people’s right to speed or right to drink.

“There are some people, and they have convinced politicians of this too, that it’s not right that these limits should infringe on one’s civil liberties.”


Mr Ross said he “doesn’t understand” how zero-tolerance drink driving legislation is met with reluctance from politicians.

“We should bring the limit down to zero on drink but that would be very difficult to get through the Dáil,” he said.

“It would be difficult because there is a large contingent among all parties and independents who are against legislation to save lives.

“Politicians should stop only talking about reviewing speed limits, which is a good idea, but acknowledge the people sitting behind them who are saying ‘Don’t bring it in.’”

Main image: Shane Ross arrives for a special Cabinet meeting in Dublin in March 2019. Picture by: Sam Boal/

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