Following the publication by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) of their Road Safety Strategy, IFA Deputy President and Countryside spokesman Eddie Downey has criticised the RSA for ignoring one of the most serious issues impacting on the safety of rural road users.
He said the poor state of repair of thousands of kilometres of rural roads was a huge safety issue. “For the RSA to ignore this fact in their road safety strategy launched yesterday is a major omission and must be addressed. The RSA has set out specific road safety targets which can only be achieved by improving the rural road network. In recent weeks, IFA has written to the Authority and urged them to carry out a full safety assessment of rural roads to establish the extent of the problem. Rural road users are very disappointed that the RSA have not addressed this issue in their strategy.”
Mr Downey said, “Properly-maintained roads are critical to doing business. Farmers and rural dwellers have a basic right to have rural roads maintained. There is now a significant road safety issue, with stretches of road surfaces falling away and in urgent need of repair. It is time for the RSA to take an interest in road maintenance”.
Eddie Downey described proposals by the RSA to ban roadside selling of farm produce as an example of unnecessary interference by the RSA into an important route to market for many farmers, particularly specialist fruit and vegetable growers. Any attempt to reduce farmers’ incomes by banning roadside retailing will be strongly opposed by IFA.” The Government must ensure that all of the RSA proposals are reasonable and cost effective as motorists are struggling to keep their cars on the road as it is, and do not need more unnecessary costs and regulations unless absolutely justified.