Dáil Éireann - Volume 586 - 27 May, 2004

Written Answers - Road Safety.

  168. Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Transport the analysis that was carried out to justify his proposal to the local authorities that the speed limits be raised on the section of the N11 near the Belfield flyover, on the Braemor Road in Churchtown and on the Dundrum bypass. [16045/04]

  Mr. Brennan: The Road Traffic Acts provide for the direct application of speed limits to all roads. Under the provisions of these Acts a default speed limit of [1079] 30 miles per hour applies to all roads, apart from motorways, in a built-up area and a general speed limit of 60 miles per hour applies to all roads outside such areas apart from motorways. A default speed limit of 70 miles per hour applies in the case of motorways. The Acts provide that local authorities may make by-laws through which the speed limits that apply on a default basis can be changed in respect of roads specified in such by-laws. These by-laws are made by the elected members of the local authorities following consultation with the Garda Commissioner and, in the case of national roads, with the consent of the National Roads Authority.

In the context of an overall review of speed limits carried out against the background of the metrication of such limits generally, county and city managers were asked in January 2003 to examine the position in their areas. In this context, the authorities were asked to look at instances where speed limits might not be appropriate and to take any action they deemed to be appropriate. My Department raised this matter with managers again in March 2004, repeating the request to look at possible instances of inappropriate speed limits.

Both the Automobile Association, AA, and the Society for the Irish Motor Industry, SIMI, subsequently presented me with lists of over 50 locations in respect of which they had received representations questioning the speed limits currently in place. The details of current and suggested limits as received from the AA and SIMI, including the locations that the Deputy is referring to, were forwarded to the relevant managers.

I wish to make it clear that I have not requested or directed in any manner that the speed limit be increased or decreased at any of the locations concerned. Managers have specifically been asked to look at the locations that have been the subject of complaint to the AA and SIMI and if the local authority considers that the speed limit is not appropriate, steps should be taken to introduce appropriate amendments to the by-laws, which will see more appropriate speed limits applied.

[1080] It has also been made clear that where, on the other hand, the local authority considers that the speed limit in question is appropriate and justified by reference to the prevailing road safety, engineering, traffic or environmental considerations, they have been asked to consider the provision of a sign informing road users of the need for that limit.

I am awaiting reports from the managers on each location where the current limit is perceived by motorists to be inappropriate. I expect that these reports will convey either the grounds that support and justify the application of the current speed limit concerned or indicate that the speed limit in question is being referred to the council members for appropriate action.