COUNCILLORS agreed to the introduction of a 30km/h speed limit for motor traffic in the city centre at this Monday’s full meeting of the local authority.
However, the move did not come with much jubilation in the Dooradoyle chamber.
Councillors were generally of the view that enforcement was key, and that all the 30km/h road signs in the world would do nothing to see speeding violations reduced in the city centre without more Gardaí and speed vans on roads.
Local representatives told the council executive that these new speed limits would be difficult to enforce with Garda resources already stretched and no visible presence in the city.
Independent councillor John O’Donoghue took the view that there is already traffic chaos in the mornings and evenings on Limerick roads.
“Taxi drivers and bus drivers are going to have longer driving times and we are going to have more pollution. Our delivery drivers are going to be working longer working days to cross one side of the city to the other. Are our towns and villages going to follow suit?” Cllr O’Donoghue asked.
“Why in the name of God did we not have any discussions with any of our large industries in all our industrial estates, especially the bigger employers, as to why in the name of God we don’t have one simple park and ride in the county?
“I’m not sure this is the answer, but I am definitely not going to oppose it. I think park and rides, better public transport, and try and work it from there and see how we go,” he suggested.
Fianna Fáil councillor Kieran O’Hanlon said he had no objection to the 30km/h speed limit but admitted he didn’t see much use in it.
“I live in Rhebogue and that has been a 30km/h speed limit for the past number of years since Smarter Travel brought it in there. We got loads of speed ramps and most people just totally ignore it. I have never seen a Garda speed car or a Go Safe van down there,” he claimed.
Cllr O’Hanlon was strongly of the view that enforcement is the best solution to the speeding issue in the city.
“Changing the numbers on a pole isn’t the answer because people will not take notice of them. It’s going to cost a lot of money to change all the signs and I think it’s an awful pity that the Government wouldn’t avail of the opportunity to run a few pilot programmes where they would put cameras into housing estates or city centre streets.
“Automatically people could be fined and I think that would be an altogether better way to actually slow down traffic,” the City East representative opined.
Labour Party councillor Joe Leddin took the view that enforcement is needed but felt councillors needed to agree the bye-laws so that the signs can be changed.
Askeaton councillor Kevin Sheahan (FF) told the council executive that he wished to be disassociated from the whole affair.
“Let’s not be tempted to make a proper Mickey Mouse thing out of this. Let’s be sensible and practical. We’ll soon have bicycles or scooters overtaking cars, which don’t seem to be governed by any legislation and that’s what we should be targeting today,” he said.
Cllr Sheehan said the Council should be “insisting that scooters be taxed and insured and respecting the speed limit and staying off the footpaths — that’s the issue”.
“My heart goes out to any victim of any road accident any place, and it’s a terrible tragedy. We have far too many people being killed on our roads and I acknowledge that, but this is not the solution.
“This is misleading to suggest that we are great people today and that we are going to be instrumental in reducing deaths on the road, we are not, so I don’t want to be associated with the proposal.
“If there was enough support for me I’d oppose it,” he concluded.