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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal Speed Limit Signs.

Wednesday, 29 June 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 223 No. 10

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29.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte asked the Minister for Local Government if he is prepared to sanction the re-siting of the 30 mph speed limit signs at Ballyraine, Letterkenny, County Donegal; and the reasons for the delay in giving sanction.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney I have nothing further to add to my reply last month to a similar question by the Deputy.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Is the Minister prepared to sanction it?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney The Minister is not at the stage where he can say “yes” or “no” to that, for the reason that a special group of three was set up some three years ago to review the siting of speed limit signs in order to counteract the lack of uniformity which has existed. These people, with the assistance of the local technical committees have so far dealt only with the re-siting of traffic signs on arterial roads. The recommendations received for roads other than arterial roads all over the country are under consideration by these people at the moment. Arising from their processing of these proposed amendments, it would be my [1499] function as Minister to sign amending orders on a county basis, as each county is reviewed by the special committee.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): Is the Minister aware this matter is considered of such urgency in Letterkenny that a Senator went out the day before yesterday with four men and removed these signs himself and that the county council replaced them the following day?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney There may be urgency about changing these signs but what we should remember is that until a short few years ago we had no signs at all. I can understand the anxiety of people who wish to spread further the safety net of the speed limits so far as their town boundaries are concerned, but there are thousands of these amendments being considered by what is virtually one committee of three people in order that we should have the uniformity which was lacking when these signs were first set up. This is a very heavy and onerous job for these people and they can make only so much progress week by week and month by month. It is their wish and my wish that this review be completed as soon as possible so that there will be an end to grievances in regard to these signs.

Mr. T.J. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan): The Minister should restrain the chairman of the county council.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Surely the Minister is aware that this recommendation was made 12 months ago by the joint committee of Donegal County Council and the Department of Justice, namely, the superintenden's office, and the Minister then declined to sanction it, and that this recommendation was made and supported by the Urban Council of Letterkenny, the local residents association and again by Donegal County Council. He must be further aware that the residents in this part of Letterkenny have voluntarily given their consent to Donegal County Council taking whatever portion of land from their property is necessary to widen the road. The Minister must be fully alive to the danger——

[1500]An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan The Deputy is not asking a question.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte I only wish to point out to the House that the Minister knows a lot more about this problem than he cares to admit, and I do not see why he will not sanction this reasonable request.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton Zoom on Mark A. Clinton Would the Minister not consider in relation to this problem laying down standards and allowing the local authorities to make the decision in each case? Three people are really not able to do it.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney Would the Deputy and the other Members of the House please understand this, that that is exactly what we did in the first instance with the result that we have had all these complaints about the lack of uniformity? It is because that situation was brought about that this special committee is reviewing these speed limits so that there can be uniformity throughout the country in relation to the siting of these signs. It is absolutely untrue that I have refused to sanction the changing of signs in Letterkenny. I have not made any decision whatsoever, because the result of the review by these people in respect of this recommendation has not come to hand. Furthermore, had I taken the decision and were it open to me to do so away back when the first recommendation was made, let me say the recommendation made in November, 1963, was that there should be a 40 mile limit out from the 30 mile limit on this particular road for a distance of 1,100 yards. Subsequent to that—just to show how we approach these things—the local urban council disagreed vehemently with the recommendation and went on to suggest the extension of the 30 mile limit. The technical committee, at a further meeting on 12th January this year, mended their hand and their recommendation is in conformity with the local authority recommendation of 30 miles for a distance of approximately 1,100 yards. However, these are only the preliminaries to the situation.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Speech.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney Whether it is a speech [1501] or not, there is enough blackguarding going on about this to have a speech on it.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Minister's Party is more to blame than we are.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney It does not matter which Party is to blame.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte The Minister's colleagues in the Upper House——

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney I had a fair amount to do with this matter of speed limit signs. We put them up faster than any other country but we found that we were probably ill-advised in regard to the speed because we left the choice of site to the local authority and because of lack of uniformity, we received much criticism and many recommendations for amendments. These are now being put through a weeding out process by the same group of three in order to get uniformity. It is not my wish that this should be prolonged.

Mr. Harte: Information on Patrick D. Harte Zoom on Patrick D. Harte Is this not the only one we declined to sanction last year?

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney That is entirely untrue.

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan Zoom on Patrick Hogan Question No. 30.


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