Taoiseach tells Danny Healy-Rae garda checkpoints are out of his hands

Taoiseach tells Danny Healy-Rae garda checkpoints are out of his hands

The Taoiseach has told the Dáil that he has no control over garda checkpoints after being asked to reduce the number of roadside checks around the country.

Criticising the Road Traffic Act which imposes new penalties on drink drivers, Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae claimed there are now too many garda checkpoints.

"Will the Taoiseach reduce the level of checkpoints, seeing as it was this Government that put them in place, and will this Government reverse this Act in the light of the anger, frustration and hardship that has been imposed on the people of rural Ireland at this time?" the Kerry TD asked.

However, Mr Varadkar said it was important to point out that it is the gardaí and the Garda Commissioner who make decisions on the frequency and location of checkpoints.

"There are no Ministers ordering checkpoints anywhere, I can guarantee that."

He added that there is a degree of misunderstanding on the new law and said while the penalties have changed the limits have not.

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar said he is "inspired and enthused" by the fact that Irish children are taking an interest in climate action and said he would be supporting young people from across the country who plan to strike next week as part of a global climate-change protest.

School children are to hold a one-day strike on March 15, to highlight a lack of action by adults on climate issues.

"They are children, pupils and students telling all the adults in all parties to get our act together and to do more about climate change because it is their future that is in jeopardy. That is why I support what they are doing and why we all must listen to what they are saying."

However, Mr Varadkar hit out at Paul Murphy and the Solidarity-PBP grouping claiming they are "climate tax deniers and who deny the fact that a carbon tax or climate charge must be part of the solution to climate change". He said carbon taxes would be part of the solution.

But Mr Murphy said using climate change as a "green-washing exercise" to try to introduce more regressive taxation "will not wash" with the public.

Independent TD Michael Harty accused the Government of a "lack of meaningful health reform" and called for a separate budget to roll-out the 10-year Sláintecare strategy.

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