Bereaved mother delighted as Dail passes strict new drink driving laws

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Bereaved mother delighted as Dail passes strict new drink driving laws thumbnailBrendan Donnelly, who was killed along with his best friend Lee Salkeld in a car crash involving a drunk driver in October 2009 and the reason the 'Brendan's Law' was undertaken by his campaigning mum, Christina Donnelly, originally from Birr. MT28924KOG

A campaigning mother, originally from Birr, who lost her son in a horrific accident caused by a drunk driver issued a heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported her campaign for tougher legislation to deal with drunk drivers as the Dail voted in favour of a suite of strict new road traffic laws last week.
The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Dail with 75 TDs voting in favour and eight TDs voting against it last week. It'll see the introduction of an automatic driving ban for first-time offenders, detected at the lowest level and while imposing stricter penalties on drink drivers, it will also make it an offence for car owners to allow a learner to drive their car unaccompanied.
Long time road safety campaign, Christina Donnelly, was "over the moon" with the news the legislation finally passed through the Dail, despite it being delayed for several months due to strong opposition mounted by a small number of TDs .
Christina, who youngest son Brendan (24) and his friend Lee Salkeld (25) died in a car crash involving a drunk driver in October 2009, spent the last nine years advocating for changes in legislation surrounding drink driving as part of the "Brendan's Law" campaign.
Welcoming the introduction of this latest legislation, Christina said: "This will never bring our loved ones back but it will offer some semblance of justice to bereaved families in the future and could also save lives."
Speaking to the Tribune, Christina said it would be impossible for her to thank everyone individually and she wanted to extend to heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported the campaign over the last nine years. "I would like to sincerely thank all of those who firstly supported the Brendan's Law campaign from the beginning and also those who lent their support since the move began to bring this legislation to fruition began. It [the support] kept me going."
According the road safety campaigner, it has been a "long road and there were many hurdles. However, I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their support of 'Brendan's Law', for me and the campaign to get this legislation through the Dail. Thank you so much."
There were many trips to Dublin, many times of disappointments for Christina over the years but she kept "plugging away". "This legislation is for all the families who have lost a loved one, killed by a drunk driver. It will not bring our loved ones back but I hope it will reduce road fatalities and serious injuries, due to drunk drivers."
However, Christina still urged people to be vigilant around the area of road safety into the future. "We have now to continue to be vigilant. This is a big step forward for Ireland. It's another big step into the future."
Christina was particularly grateful for all of the "unwavering support" from Birr and indeed county Offaly. "The area never let me down. I am indebted to everyone, who supported the cause. It never stopped and it willed me on on many occasions," she concluded.
Writing on social media last week, the "Brendan's Law" campaign said the Bill "will never bring our loved ones back. But, it will bring some semblance of justice and comfort for families for the future. A great day for our country and a start to saving lives on our roads."


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