Bertie Ahern,s penny pinching costs children,s lives.
The scandal of all Fianna Fail dominant councils "head in the sand" attitude to their responsabilities for the safety of our youth, and their continuation of "one off" house building in rural areas of every county in Ireland,is part and parcel of the dreadful tragedy in May 2005 where five young schoolchildren lost their lives and many more were seriously injured,after a school bus was involved in a collision in the county of Meath.
The escalating cost of providing proper,safe, school bus transport for these "one off" houses throughout the land,is the reason for this tragedy. The government has refusal to accept the real cost of their populist policies , and it has now coming home to roost in this dreadful accident. No seatbelts. Standing room only. Parsimoniousness is the hallmark of this government.They pander to the rural, " one off housing " lobby. They refuse to accept the financial cost of their populist vote buying policies.
According to the "Irish Independent", (May 2005)
* In 1999 a report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Science called for the phased introduction of seatbelts and retrofitting the existing fleet. It also recommended an end to overcrowding on school buses and the urgent abolition of the three-for-two rule.
* In 2002 a Government review carried out by the Departments of Education and Environment made broadly similar findings and cited evidence of safety risks in the absence of seat belts. Pupils could be thrown from buses in the event of a crash, it warned.
The then Junior Education Minister Willie O'Dea submitted a request to the Department of Finance for €14m to be spent annually in a bid to ensure that every second-level student got their own school bus seat. His funding request was turned down.!
"It would make the transport of schoolchildren safer, as they should be sitting down in the event of an accident. The money would allow them to put safety belts on every school bus in the country," he said at the time.
A letter to the Independent.May 2005.
Sir - I have just watched Prime Time when they were discussing the horrific traffic accident in Navan where five young girls lost their lives. I am absolutely livid and furious after listening to the arrogance of the verbally challenged Minister of Defence, WILLIE O DEA. !!
The main issue being discussed was the wearing or non-wearing of seat belts on school buses. His attitude was to hide behind what is "the norm" in other countries and to come out with the usual statistical diatribe which is normally used to hide the truth.
His demeanour was aggressive and confrontational and totally inappropriate considering the sensitivity of what had happened. I am apolitical but this performance by the Minister typifies the arrogance and smugness of our current administration.
Don't let anybody forget that in just the last two years, one member of this administration, GV Wright, mowed down a member of the public in Dublin city centre whilst drunk behind the wheel of his car.
Another former minister, Jim McDaid, drove along a busy dual carriageway on the wrong side of the road before being arrested for drunk driving. Only last week in Dail Eireann junior Minister Conor Lenihan made comments which could only be perceived as racist against Turkish people.
Apart from the enforcement of the law for the two drunk drivers, what punishment has been handed out to these individuals by the Government? None. Some example, indeed, from our alleged leaders! Then the piece de resistance, when the Government couldn't even be bothered to present an individual on TV that might come across as compassionate and caring. Arrogance, or perhaps incompetence, has been brought to a new level at a time when the lives of five young children have been lost as well as families being torn apart and shattered.