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Dublin: 2 °C Saturday 16 November, 2019
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'I'm doing something for my baby... I'm here for Jake' - heartbroken mum on her Dáil sleep out

Six-year-old Jake Brennan was knocked down outside his home last year. Now his mother hopes her three-night sleep out can help make sure others don’t suffer a parent’s worst nightmare.

Updated 5.19pm

jake-4 Jake Brennan Source: TV3

IT’S DAY TWO of Roseanne Brennan’s sleep out protest outside Leinster House but her enthusiasm is undimmed.

“You know what? I don’t mind. I’m doing something for my baby. I feel like I’m here for Jake. All I’m missing is going to his grave,” she says.

Jake is Roseanne’s six-year-old boy who died after being hit by a car outside his family home in Kilkenny last June.

Roseann Brennan Dail Protests Source: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Since then Roseanne has mounted a campaign to have speed limits reduced in all housing estates across the country and for the introduction of mandatory speed bumps.

The Jake’s Legacy Campaign has culminated in a three-night sleep out in front of Leinster House which has received cross-party support.

Tonight the Dáil will debate a Sinn Féin bill, dubbed Jake’s Law, to amend road traffic legislation and introduce a 20 kilometre speed limit in residential areas.

The family have also held meetings with Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe as part of the campaign.

His department has already carried out a survey on the issue after which Donohoe issued a circular calling on all local authorities to review speed limits in residential areas and housing estates.

Speaking in the Dáil this evening, Enda Kenny said that he had met with Roseanne, describing it as a “sad case” that she has “brought to national attention”.

While the Sinn Féin bill will not be opposed tonight, Roseanne is disappointed there is not a clear timetable for implementation of speed limits.

“I want times. When is this all going to be put on paper? That’s saying we’re just going to put you off for another year or two,” she claimed.

A government spokesperson said this evening that the measures raised in the Sinn Féin bill would be addressed in the government’s own Road Traffic Bill 2015 which will be published in the summer.

https://vine.co/v/OxOVebpMtLM

Over the past two nights the 30-year-old mother-of-two has been joined by a number of supporters on the sleep out which reaches its third and final night tonight.

“The first night was tough with the rain and that. Last night was cold but once it’s not raining it’s not too bad. We’ve had great support,” she said.

After a conversation with a woman on the street, Roseanne says:

“It’s about injuries too. It comes down to the cyclists too. At the end of the day they’re seriously injured and no one puts on record how many are seriously injured [as a result of road accidents involving cars],” she said.

IMG_4803 Roseanne Brennan meets with Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin and John McGuinness outside Leinster House today. Martin said that his party was supporting the bill. Source: Hugh O'Connell/TheJournal.ie

Damien Ó Tuama, the National Cycling Coordinator for Cyclist.ie – the Irish Cycling Advocacy Network, believes that Ireland is “decades behind more progress countries” when it comes to road traffic laws in this area.

He told TheJournal.ie: “If you go to Germany, you go to Netherlands, Denmark – all these countries brought in 30 kilometres per hour and then the home zones which are lower speed areas, safes areas in housing estates. These are safe areas where kids should be able to hang out.

As for Roseanne, she says she’ll visit Jake’s grave when she returns to Kilkenny on Thursday, before she goes home to her other two young children. Has her sleep out been a success? She’s in no doubt:

“Yeah, because I think they know we mean business.”

Read: Alan Kelly calls for reduced speed limits after tragic death of Jake Brennan

‘He was like a wounded pup’ – Mother makes emotional appeal over speed limits

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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