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'I am not privy to the plot': Shane Ross doesn't anticipate 'going to war' over new speeding laws

Under the new system, drivers who speed excessively will be hit with heavier penalties.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan spoke out against the new plans this year but has since backed the new legislation.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan spoke out against the new plans this year but has since backed the new legislation.
Image: Rollingnews.ie

TRANSPORT MINISTER SHANE ROSS has said he does not anticipate having to “go to war” with his Cabinet colleagues over his new graduated speeding law.

Cabinet is to consider the regulations tomorrow, though it is expected that some ministers and TDs will give significant push back to the new proposals. 

In an interview with this publication last year, the minister confirmed that he intended to introduce the new law in 2019.

Under the system, drivers who exceed the limit by more than 30km/ph will face a court prosecution and a €2,000 fine. 

The new law will also see drivers that record minor infringements of the speed limit, of between zero to 10km/ph, get fewer penalty points than is currently the norm. 

Currently, speeding of any kind carries a fixed charge fine of €80, along with three penalty points. 

Under the new rules, drivers who record minor infringements will only get two penalty points along with a €60 fine.

Anyone speeding between 10km/ph and 20 km/ph over the limit will receive three penalty points, and a €80 fine, with those caught speeding between 20km/ph and 30 km/ph over the limit getting a €100 fine and four penalty points. 

“It will be graduated, the more you break the speed limit the more you’ll be punished – there will be higher penalty points,” Ross said at the time he proposed the new measures. 

However, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan spoke out against the new plans this year, stating they could have unforeseeable consequences.

Due to the disagreement, the bill was sent to a Cabinet subcommittee to be redrafted, with one or two amendments being made, Ross said. These changes have resulted in some of the penalties for lower-level infringements of the speed limit being reduced.

The justice minister has now endorsed the legislation, said Ross, who told reporters today: 

It fundamentally changes the way we respond to speeding. Those that are the least amount over the speeding limit actually get more lenient penalties, those who are in the middle get the same as there always was, and those who are extremists, those over 30 kilometres per hour, get greater penalties.
The majority of people will find themselves in the same or a better position. What it is aiming to do is the faster you go the more you get punished. We thought it was worth changing to make it a little more lenient for the people who are only marginally over the limit.

While all breaches of the speed limit are dangerous, said the minister, “if you are going over 30 km/ph over the limit that has to be treated differently”.

A headline in the Irish Independent this morning said that rural ministers were engaged in a ‘plot’ to derail Ross’s plan. Asked about TDs briefing against the proposed legislation, Ross said: 

I am not privy to the plot and not a single minister or rural TD have approached me on this issue at all.

He expects ministers will make their views known at tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting, he said.

While he acknowledged that some might have reservations, he would ask them to study the changes that have been made to the bill. 

“I don’t think there is a plot of any sort,” said the minister, who added that speeding is not an issue for rural Ireland, but a problem nationwide. 

“Speeding is the biggest killer on our roads, we’ve got to tackle it,” Ross said. 

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