Ms. Mary Clinton
PLEASE QUOTE REF NUMBER ON ALL CORRESPONDENCE
Our Ref: 1605651/NO
Dear Ms. Clinton,
I refer again to your email to the Minister for Education and Skills, Mr Richard Bruton, TD regarding space in school lockers for bicycle helmets.
In accordance with the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, the Board of Management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school. The responsibility for arranging the provision of storage space rests with the Board of Management.
Education in Schools:
Mary Clinton goes around schools and colleges around Donegal and delivers presentations on road safety to 4th, 5th and Transitiion year students. She also conducts art competition/projects on different road safety themes with primary school pupils in an effort to promote road safety education and awareness in Donegal.
Driver Awareness: Staying Alive - St Eunana's School Project
I am particularly aware of the transition year resource project/pilot programme in Road Safety, put into the classroom of the students by Ms Rena O' Herlihy, Vice President of St. Eunan’s College, in 2001/2002, called 'Staying Alive'.
However, not all of our young people go through St. Eunan's College, and not all stay at any 2nd level school until the reach the age of transition year. These young people fall through the net, and don't get the chance to avail of these Road Safety programmes!
A recommendation by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to introduce a course in the context of Social, Personal and Health Education, into all schools from September 2003, I have been reliably informed, has NEVER been implemented! I stand corrected if I have been misinformed. I'm referring to an article in The Village Magazine, dated 27th Oct., 2005.
I believe that our young people need driver training, as opposed to just learning to drive in favorable road conditions, an education in skills, how to manoeuvre in a crisis, to learn the limitations of ordinary road cars as opposed to rally cars.
Shaun Gallagher, as a national and internationally experienced, and successful young rally driver should be invited to go into all 2nd and 3rd level schools and instruct students in the mechanical, and physical differences, and vulnerability of ordinary cars as opposed to rally cars. I'm certainly not implying that my suggestion will solve all problems, but if it helps to prevent any death's it will be very worthwhile and your efforts will not have been in vain.
I'm appealing to you the Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) in Donegal to support at least some work on developing this idea, and costing it as a first step or, if I've already convinced you, maybe you'd find some way of putting the project into action as soon as possible?
On my visits to post primary schools and colleges in the past year to make a presentation on Road Safety, I also request that the students fill out a questionnaire on which I had 10 questions on the possible factors involved in the constant road carnage. I was amazed when I read the finished questionnaire... in reply to the question, “Which factors do you think is mostly the cause of the carnage on our roads?”, out of 100 students, all of them cited drunk driving along with speeding and 90% said both drunk and drugged driving as the main factors involved. Also, in reply to my the question as to whether they thought it was necessary for me to keep lobbying government on the drug issue (above mentioned) all 100% of the students said a very resounding and definite "YES!". Some added that the Gardai should be testing the students in schools. I think that’s proof enough of how serious the drug issue is nationwide.
I have made a presentation to the Donegal Vocational Educational Committee (VEC) on 21st November 2005 at their monthly meeting, calling on their help in lobbying our Education Minister, Ms. Mary Hanafin to get driver education and training incorporated into our schools curriculum as soon as possible, in an effort to reduce the level of road carnage in Donegal.
Mary Clinton is very active in constant letter writing for a period of 10 plus years now, to Government Ministers who have any responsibility for Road Safety in Ireland. Her most recent such effort has been to Deputy John Curran T.D. Minister of State at the Dept of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, with special responsibility for drugs strategy. Mary pointed out to the Minister that she was very concerned about the proliferation of drug usage county and countrywide. Mary said, I requested a meeting for January with the said Minister to discuss face to face with him about my constant requests to the Ministers for Finance in every New Government reshuffle, to make the finance available to equip our Gardai with the Device/apparatus being used successfully in other European Countries to test drivers for Drugged Driving. I told him that I have factual information about the reliability of these Devices(2) tried, tested and proven to work successfully in less than 5 minutes!
I have also CC this letter to all the other Ministers with responsibility for Road Safety, and on Monday presented An Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan T.D. with a similar letter requesting her assistance in this matter. I also presented An Tanaiste with 16 of the Key Rings with the Appeal Message which included "Say NO to Drink & Drug Driving" for each member of the Cabinet. I received a reply from An Tanaiste within seven weeks, and a letter from Dermot Ahern, T.D., Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform via An Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan, T.D., a very specific and detailed reply in relation to "Driving under the influence of Intoxicants" for my information.
The new Road Safety Campaign Group was launched on 12th March 2007 in the Mount Errigal Hotel in order to keep the A-CEART momentum going, and to keep creating Awareness about the continuous
tragedies on our roads. A-CEART will be walking in the St; Patrick’s Day Parade in Letterkenny which will include families who have suffered bereavement as a result of road traffic collisions from all over the North West.
Constant letters to the Government - March 29th 2007, a letter to An Taoiseach highlighting once more the horrific and ongoing carnage of our people on our roads. Our most recent carnage being over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday when we lost yet again a further 4 young people on our Donegal roads, aged between 18 to 20 years. Also, that weekend claiming nine people nationwide.
This is the 3rd phase of the campaign. In a further commitment to making a positive contribution to saving lives on our roads on a continual basis, last Christmas, Mary Clinton, founder of A-CEART (Action Campaign for Education Against Road Tragedies) launched the 3rd phase of her Road Safety campaign in the form of key-rings with a special appeal message to all people who drive any vehicle. Her message was: “SAVE A LIFE, MAYBE YOUR OWN - SAY NO TO DRINK & DRUG DRIVING!”
See image gallery below.