Ross on track for clashes with FG

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By John Dren­nan

TRANS­PORT Min­is­ter Shane Ross’s con­tro­ver­sial Road Traf­fic Bill is poised to plunge the Gov­ern­ment into fur­ther dis­rup­tion over pro­pos­als to seize the cars of unac­com­pa­nied learner driv­ers.

Although the Cab­i­net ac­cepted the Bill, a slow-burn back­lash is now build­ing up in Fine Gael against the pro­pos­als. And with con­tin­u­ing rum­blings over the Pub­lic Health Al­co­hol Bill, the mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment is fac­ing a ru­ral back­lash to its al­ready limited leg­isla­tive plans.

One min­is­ter said: ‘It is more anti-ru­ral stuff: Lord Ross from Dublin Rath­down telling the thick ru­ral peo­ple how to live.’

They added: ‘Are we se­ri­ously go­ing to be set­ting the po­lice on 18-year-old Jimmy if, on a pro­vi­sional li­cence, he drives up the boreen to check the cat­tle?’

The Gov­ern­ment is also fac­ing an on­go­ing re­volt on the Pub­lic Health Al­co­hol Bill. Health Min­is­ter Si­mon Har­ris was due to face a grilling at last week’s FG par­lia­men­tary party meet­ing over reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing the dis­play of al­co­hol in small shops. But the meet­ing broke up when a Dáil vote was called.

One TD said: ‘We ex­tracted a guar­an­tee that the next meet­ing will be given over to deal­ing with a sce­nario where FG is against cor­ner shops and for the de­crim­i­nal­i­sa­tion of cannabis.’

Mean­while, it has emerged that Mr Ross missed a meet­ing with EU Trans­port Com­mis­sioner Vi­o­leta Bulc when she vis­ited Dublin last month – but later posed for pic­tures with her at a Luas stop.

A Depart­ment of Trans­port spokesman said Mr Ross had missed the meet­ing on Oc­to­ber 19 in the con­text of a num­ber of votes in the Dáil cham­ber.

photo op: Shane Ross with EU Trans­port Com­mis­sioner Vi­o­leta Bulc last month

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