Skip to content


Road Deaths in Ireland

Road deaths are a hot topic in Ireland. They’re actually lower, per capita, than rates in other countries, but are given plenty of column inches and headlines here, and have become a government priority as a result.

Here’s the latest headline:

[Gay Byrne, head of the Road Safety Authority] claimed young people were ignoring road safety campaigns and that all he could do was to warn people to reduce speed and not to drink and drive. “I don’t know what else we can do. We have done all the horror ads, but there are obviously a great number of people who don’t look at television, listen to radio, or read newspapers and don’t get the message,” he said.

Ads. Great. Well, one thing that could be done is fixing the unsafe roads, and building decent ones; Irish country roads, while picturesque, are unable to deal with the levels of traffic they’re now facing. It’s time to apply modern safety standards, instead of considering a 2-lane boreen to be adequate.

There’s been a bit of improvement here; the roads from Dublin to Sligo, and from Dublin to Dundalk, for example, are both now fantastic, well-designed roads, and safe as a result. But try to get from Sligo to anywhere that isn’t Dublin, and you’re right back on those boreens again — with maniacs overtaking on blind corners into oncoming traffic and so on.

But here’s the real reason for the post. I have to reserve some special scorn for this idiot:

Hotelier Declan Corbett, who employed both siblings, yesterday called on Mr Byrne to resign following his comments.

“I am after coming down from the Frewen family house and if Gay Byrne or Michael McDowell were after witnessing what I saw he wouldn’t be coming out this morning with this ranting and blaming the young people of Ireland,” he said. […]

“Gay Byrne was given this job and he shouldn’t have been given this job. It’s typical Dublin 4 job-for-the-boys. A job like this should be given to someone in rural Ireland – somebody like Sean Og O’hAilpin that young people look up to.”

Sean Og O’hAilpin, eh? As Paul Moloney noted — that’d be the same Sean Og who ended his Gaelic football career when he overtook a car on a bend, at speed, crashing head-on into oncoming traffic? A great example, indeed.

I think that might be the problem.