Fitzmaurice lays into Ross over drink driving comments that ‘rural TDs bowing to wishes of vintners’

‘We have minds of our own on this and other issues.’

‘Even if drinking levels were at zero the problem is a lack of Gardai out on roads.’

Garda ‘numbers are down by over 3,000, meaning problems not policed properly.’

Minister ‘seems to be on a mission to make people feel guilty for expressing their opinion.’

‘It might be more in his line to sort out problems at Bus Eireann and secure proper budget for the repair of the roads.’

Sligo News File Online

Roscommon-based TD Michael Fitzmaurice has slammed what he has branded the “wrong approach” Transport Minister Shane Ross is taking “by giving out about rural TDs who do not agree with him” on drink driving.

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice – a fearless voice for the rural community.

The Independent deputy has condemned in particular the Minister’s apparent comments that rural TDs were “bowing to the wishes of the vintners.”

He said, “It is not the vintners or anyone else who are twisting our arms, we have our own minds when it comes to this and other issues.”

Further rounding on Ross, he said that “unfortunately” the minister “has moved away from the issue of Garda numbers” as the reason for drink driving.

“Even if the drink-driving levels were set at zero, it is the lack of Gardai out on the beat and on the roads that are the problem.

Dublin TD and Minister for Transport Shane Ross.

“The numbers are down by over 3,000 in recent years, and that means that these problems are not being policed properly.

“Another major cause of serious accidents, especially in rural areas are defective roads but,” he said, “we have heard no announcements of funding to carry our repairs on these dangerous roads.

“If Minister Ross is serious about saving lives on our roads, and I presume he is, there are better ways with better results that he can achieve this rather than the way he is going at the moment.

“He seems to be on a mission to make people feel guilty for expressing their opinion.

“It might be more in his line to sort out the problems at Bus Eireann and secure a proper budget for the repair of the roads and these things would have far more of a positive impact on the situation and on rural Ireland in particular.”

Earlier this year, the Galway Independent reported him as saying:

“We appear to be always relating accidents and death to seatbelts, drink and young drivers but in my view the big elephant in the room is the state of our roads but of course that costs money so, hush, say nothing if you’re government or the RSA.”