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“This Bill will save lives, nothing else is working” says Birr woman

Story by Olga Aughey

Thursday, 15th June, 2017 4:11pm

“This Bill will save lives, nothing else is working” says Birr woman

Christina Donnelly speaks out on Drink Driving Bill

"If you are caught behind the wheel and are over the legal limit you should be disqualified immediately."

Those are the words of Christina Donnelly from Birr who lost her 24-year-old son Brendan after a drunk driver drove head-on into his car outside Cork in 2009.

Since then, Christina has been campaigning for justice, and next week plans to meet with some of the politicians concerned over a new bill which takes a zero-tolerance stance on drink driving.

Among those she is due to meet are TDs Robert Troy, and Danny Healy-Rae.

"I am annoyed and angry at politicians. No matter what party they're from, they should be standing should-to-shoulder on this. The Bill was passed by Cabinet but there is the few that are blocking it and want the drink driving laws to remain the same as they always were."

"These politicians are all very brave when they stand behind a microphone or a newspaper article, but there's not so much bravado there when you invite them to sit down with a bereaved family who has lost someone due to the actions of a drink driver.

"When a drink driver gets behind a wheel, they know what they are doing. They know they are doing wrong, but that doesn't stop them. All the campaigns and the ads on our television over the years hasn't stopped them, the stats are getting worse and April was an awful month for deaths on our roads.

"As it stands now, if they are caught they will get a slap on the wrist and away they go. If they were disqualified immediately it might be a different story.
"This bill will save lives. Nothing else is working."

"It baffles me as to how they cannot support a campaign that will save lives on our roads, and when you tackle them about it, they bring up mobile phone usage, and distracted driving - which all play a role, but that is not what this bill is about.

"This is not about vengeance, this is about justice for all the families who will get that knock on their door as we did. It's to take the drunk driver off the road as soon as they are caught over the limit."

Since the 2009 death of her son Brendan in an accident involving a driver who was intoxicated on alcohol and drugs, she has lobbied for tougher sentences for drunk and drug drivers involved in fatal accidents including six to nine year mandatory sentences and disqualification periods of between 20 years and life. 

For more about Christina's campaign, check out 'Brendan's Law' on Facebook.

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