Two Clare members of a national lobby group, looking for the introduction of a 20kph speed limit in housing estates, took part in a protest outside the Dáil earlier this week.
Rita Malone, whose son Oran was knocked down in Ardnacrusha last September and Paula Flynn, Dalcassian Park, Ennis stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Roseanne Brennan, who is spearheading the Jake’s Legacy campaign after her son, Jake, was killed by a car outside his Kilkenny home.
Ms Flynn said she was inspired to support the campaign after hearing Ms Brennan’s story about the death of her child.
Five out of every 10 children hit by a car at 50kph, the current speed limit in estates, die, according to the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
Ms Malone pointed out that motorists are only allowed to drive at 30kph on one of the main streets in Dublin, while motorists can drive up to 50kph in a housing estate where children are playing.
She described standing outside the Dáil with two mothers – one who lost her child and the other whose child survived – as “emotional”.
“50kph or 30kph is a limit not a target. I would appeal to motorists to consider their car as a weapon when they are driving through a housing estate.”
Ms Malone has also highlighted the lack of national statistics concerning the number of children and adults who are seriously injured on roads and in housing estates.
She feels sometimes children like Oran, who suffered serious injuries, can be easily forgotten.
She said she has had to change her hours at work as a special needs assistant at Milford National School to take Oran to physiotherapy and play therapy, to deal with the emotional scars of his accident.
Ms Malone added that she has been contacted by parents from across the country who have lost children or had children who suffered serious injuries.
Her husband, Pat, who works in Foynes Port, recalled the Friday afternoon he got the phonecall about Oran’s accident. He met his wife in UHL.
“It was sheer panic because you think the worst. Nobody was saying ‘Oran was hurt but he will be ok’.
“Afterwards, you keep pinching yourself, we are so lucky he is still alive and with us. You look at life differently and appreciate it more. It gives you a jolt to your system,” Pat said.
Deputy Timmy Dooley said he supports a reduction of speed limits in housing estates and residential areas.
Deputy Joe Carey said the Government would not be objecting to the passage of the second stage of the proposed Amendment to the Roads Traffic Act and hoped the reduced speed limit in estates would become law later this year.
While Deputy Michael McNamara also supports the speed reduction proposals, he expressed concern about the resources to provide adequate enforcement.