Safety is now the biggest threat to freedom

Once again, a coterie of bureaucrats have over-ridden the right of citizens to make a decision for themselves. Once again, the decision is based on a “not on my watch” philosophy.

I am, of course, referring to the decision not to allow the Irish team to travel through the city centre in an open-topped bus in the interests of safety.

Across every spectrum of life, officialdom is sticking in its oar in order to reduce injury and death rates. It seems reasonable enough – but it isn’t.

No consideration is given to the deterioration in the quality of life for the general population.

An example is required.

Due to a number of fatalities, the Government is considering making it mandatory for people to wear lifejackets while in boats. It is not clear whether it will just apply on the sea.

This will probably save some lives – mainly by stopping large numbers of people getting into boats in the first place. This will be considered progress.

For such a ban to operate, it will mean giving some official or policeman the right to deny you access to a boat regardless of whether an individual is willing to take their own risk.

What gets me is that the loss of liberty is never taken into consideration.

Last week, the decision about whether there should be a city centre parade was taken without any consultation with the public whatsoever. The people actually affected by the decision are the last ones to be asked.

In another case, the decision on Hill 16 will be made within the next two months. Although the vast majority of people who actually use Hill 16 want it kept as a terrace, the bureaucrats at An Bord Pleanala will have the last word on it. The last time they decided that the stand would have to be seated.

In the interests of safety, you know.

Perhaps this time they might find themselves taking into account some issues like personal freedom and democracy.

I suppose it’s the system that’s wrong. Much of it is based on the blame game. The gardai would get precious little praise for allowing the Irish team to parade down the street while if someone got killed the gardai would get the blame.

And they might get sued. In many cases, compo culture has led to the erosion of liberties and facilities.

The answer is to change priorities. Quality of life must come before simply being alive.

As Well As That. . .

The case of Joey Dunlop

On July 2, 2000 Joey Dunlop was killed during a motorcycle race in Estonia. He was the greatest ever road racer.

The safety zealots would dearly love to ban road racing.

But Joey Dunlop was racing bikes for over 30 years. He was an adult who decided for himself what risks he wanted to take. He loved his sport and he led his life the way he wanted to.

Far better that Joey rests in the cemetery at Garryduff Presbyterian church than if he had to live his life by the dictates of bureaucrats and policemen.

The ultimate safety

Here’s a plan.

Let’s put everyone under house arrest. Ban all drugs except the ones that make you live forever. Ban everything that might injure a human being – electricity, knives, two-story buildings, doors (you might catch your fingers), zips (you might catch your…) and so on.

Then we’ll really be happy.

Drink-driving zealots press on

I heard a road safety campaigner say that she wanted the present drink-driving limit reduced from 80mg to 50mg. She hinted that she would like to have the Swedish limit, which is zero.

No-one can say, because nobody knows, how many road accidents are caused by people who have between 50mg and 80mg per ml of blood. The absence of facts never gets in the way of safety campaigners.

They can say generally that if you reduce the limit and increase enforcement you will reduce accidents.

You don’t say. If you put gardai on every road with every power under the sun you will definitely lower accidents. Everyone with bald tyres, tax a week out-of-date or not sure whether they are over the limit or not, will stay off the road.

In rural areas this has led to an erosion of social networks, which, because they are based on alcohol consumption, are valueless to our campaigning heroes.