Ross on track for clashes with FG
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