June 9, 2023

‘Serious concerns’ raised over Ross’s controversial new anti-speeding penalties

THE Government’s top lawyer has raised serious concerns about controversial new anti-speeding measures proposed by Transport Minister Shane Ross.

Ross’s plans have been widely condemned as another attack on rural Ireland. They have also been heavily criticised by the Dublin-based minister’s Fine Gael colleagues in government.

Under his proposals, drivers would face a raft of harsh new penalties if caught speeding slightly over the legal limit.

Drivers travelling up to 10km/h above the speed limit would receive between three and five penalty points and an €80 fine.

Drivers detected travelling at speeds 10- 20km/h above the limit would receive between four and six points and a €150 fine. A €200 fine and up to seven penalty points would apply for speeding 20-30km/h above the limit.

Those travelling more than 30km/h above the limit will no longer be dealt with under the penalty points system and instead will face prosecution for dangerous driving.

However, it has now emerged that the Attorney General, Séamus Woulfe, has raised serious concerns about Minister Ross’s new anti-speeding measures.  

Gardai have also queried how graduated speeding penalties could be enforced.

Mr Ross’s scheme was met with strong opposition from some of his Fine Gael colleagues at a recent Cabinet meeting and will be referred to a Cabinet sub-committee for further scrutiny.

In leaked Cabinet notes, published by The Irish Times, Mr Woulfe raised a series of concerns. “There is a question as to whether it is proportionate to stipulate the penalties in this manner,” Mr Woulfe said. “10km/h over the speed limit in a 120km/h zone might not represent as big a danger or as intentional a wrongdoing as the same breach in a 30km/h zone.

“Consideration could be given to applying graduated penalties on the basis of what percentage over the speed limit the person was driving. This would more accurately reflect the increasing risk and danger posed by the speeding and hence the penalties would be more proportionate.”

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