A pensioner in this region, sends himself a letter every Friday when he comes into the post office to collect his pension, so that at least he will see the postman once a week. That’s the level of isolation and loneliness being experienced by people livening in parts of rural Ireland, according to Foxford based Fine Gael councillor Neil Cruise.

The councillor was among a number of councillors who at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Ballina Municipal District condemned what they termed the “kite flying” that the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross engaged in earlier this week, proposing a new system of incremental speed limit penalties for motorists, in view of the already harsh drink driving laws now in operation that are leaving many elderly feeling trapped in their own homes.

The councillors accused the Minister of being out of touch with rural communities .

 On Tuessday, the Transport Minister presented a proposed new system for fining motorists caught speeding, to his cabinet colleagues. The new system would see motorists charged a higher amount and given higher penalty points, the more they're caught driving over the speed limit.

At the outset of yesterday’s debate all cllrs said they appreciate that speed can kill and that drink driving is not acceptable and condemned both - but at the same time, they do not believe that punitive penalties and fines is the only answer – as they argued they hit rural communities more.

Cllr Cruise outlined to Midwest News his increasing concern for many elderly people living in areas without access to any public transport.


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