Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley has said the Government needs to explain why it took a High Court judgement on a challenge to the drink driving laws yesterday before action was taken to shore-up legislation in the area.
Deputy Dooley commented: “I am concerned that this case seems to have taken the Government by surprise. Court challenges to important areas of legislation have taken place before and the Government needs to explain why action was not taken when this matter arose at District Court level. The Attorney General is supposed to have an early warning system in place to monitor cases and advise the Government of any potential issues arising in the courts regarding challenges to existing laws.
“I welcome the fact that Minister Paschal Donohoe has moved to tighten up the law in this area today but I am concerned about how many drink driving prosecutions may be in jeopardy because action wasn’t taken when this first arose at District Court level. The Minister needs to give a clear indication what advice the government has in relation to existing prosecutions already in the system. It will be an extremely serious matter if cases have to be dismissed on account of the delay in tightening up the law.
“The body of road safety laws we have in place now act as a significant deterrent to drink driving, speeding and other offences. They have saved hundreds if not thousands of lives over the years and it’s important that the integrity of the system is protected and strengthened where appropriate. I will be seeking to raise this issue with the Minister for Transport.”