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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Motor vehicle collisions

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Let’s face it, despite our best efforts, accidents do happen.

If you are involved in a motor collision, the law requires you to do certain things. This applies whether the collision was with another motor vehicle, another user of the road or an object along the road.

“Apart from the legal aspect, there are also things it is advisable to do for safety reasons and to help reduce your possible financial loss,” cautions Deirdre Vann Bourke, Kerry Manager with South Munster Citizens Information Service. “Forewarned is forearmed so it’s worth being informed about what to do in the event of an accident.”

What are my legal obligations?

Your legal obligations, if you are involved in a motor collision, are set out in Section 106 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 as amended. Firstly, you must stop your car and remain at the scene of the accident for a reasonable time.

Provide information: If a Garda is present at the scene of the collision, you must give them, when requested:

* Your name and address
* The address where your car is kept
* The name and address of the car owner
* The car’s registration number
* Motor insurance details (including the expiry date of the policy)

If there is no Garda present you must give this information on request to:

* The injured person (where someone has been hurt) – or a person asking on their behalf
* The owner whose property has been damaged, or someone asking on their behalf or
* Give the information to an independent person who was present when the collision occurred.

Report the accident: If there is no Garda present, you must report the accident as soon as possible to a Garda who is nearby or at a Garda station. The person (if any) you gave the information to can do this. If they are not in a position to do so, you must report the accident.

What should I do if I am involved in a motor collision?

“There are a number of steps you should take if you are unlucky enough to be involved in a collision with another vehicle,” says Deirdre.

Decide whether to move the cars:

If the collision is serious, do not move the cars. If the collision is minor and the cars are blocking the road or are a danger to other road users, mark their position on the road then move them. Take care when moving damaged cars and be alert to the danger from leaking fuel.

Warn other drivers: Try to warn oncoming traffic of the accident. You can warn them by using your hazard lights. If you have a reflective advance-warning triangle, place it on the road far enough from the scene of the collision to give enough warning to approaching traffic. If the collision happens near a bend in the road, make sure you give warning to traffic on both sides of the bend. If you need to ask for another road user’s help to warn traffic, do so right away.

Call for help: If someone is injured, call the Gardaí (telephone 999 or 112) and, if necessary, ambulance services.

Get information: You should get the information listed above (under ‘Provide Information’) from the other drivers involved in the collision. If the collision involves damage to property, get the owner’s name, address and telephone number.

Get the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses, as these may be required if a question of liability arises.

Photos: Take photos of the scene of the collision if you have a camera. These should include photos of the vehicles before they are moved.

Garda details: You should get the name or number of the Garda to whom the collision is reported. You may need to ensure that a Garda report has been filed for insurance purposes.

“You should write down an account of all relevant facts connected to the collision as soon as possible afterwards,” advises Deirdre. “Be sure to sign and date your account (including the time) when it is completed. This could be a very useful document to have going forward.”

Uninsured or unidentified cars:
If you wish to claim compensation where you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or unidentified car, contact the Motor Insurer's Bureau of Ireland (MIBI). MIBI also deals with claims arising from foreign drivers in Ireland or Irish drivers abroad.

Serious road traffic collisions:
When a serious road traffic collision occurs, causing a serious or fatal injury, there will be an investigation by the Gardaí and possibly the coroner. It may involve an inquest and even a criminal prosecution.

For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.

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Walk this way…to Killarney parkrun

By Michelle Crean Killarney’s parkrun has added another element to their ever popular Saturday morning event – suitable for people of all abilities. While most participating up until now enjoyed […]

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By Michelle Crean

Killarney’s parkrun has added another element to their ever popular Saturday morning event – suitable for people of all abilities.

While most participating up until now enjoyed a morning run, the local group is now promoting walking for the month of October every Saturday morning at 9.30am in the grounds of Killarney House.

“parkrun is not just for runners, it’s for walkers and people of all abilities, it doesn’t matter how long it takes,” Philip Gammell, Event Director Killarney House parkrun, said.

“We always have one or more volunteer Tailwalkers, who must ensure that everyone else is safely finished before completing the course themselves.”

He added that parkrun global are promoting this for the month of October but the idea is that if walkers start doing it regularly, they will keep coming back after that too.

As well as getting exercise, it’s also great fun and a social occasion, as you get to know lots of people who you’d otherwise never meet.”

You must register for the event but and once done you can walk or run at any parkrun event anywhere in the world.

“Best of all, after parkrun we go for tea/coffee and a scone in The International Hotel. Come and join us next Saturday and bring a friend!

Registration is free on www.parkrun.ie.

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Budget 2023 is just plastering over the cracks

By Michael O’Connor The Irish Budget has never been something I have paid too much attention to. My day-to-day focus is predominantly on stock market moves, so it never bears […]

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By Michael O’Connor

The Irish Budget has never been something I have paid too much attention to.

My day-to-day focus is predominantly on stock market moves, so it never bears too much relevance, but Budget 2023 certainly caught my attention.

It was set against a backdrop of surging energy prices, inflationary pressures, and a red-hot housing crisis. As one of the few European countries with a budget surplus to dip into, expectations were high.

On the surface, the Budget didn’t disappoint. The €11 billion package had a little something for everyone. The massive package of once-off measures will go a long way toward supporting households and businesses this year.

But when you dig a little deeper, many of the measures are simply providing a short-term sugar rush, with little substance once the initial high wears off.

I get it; financial relief is crucial but adding more money into the economy so people can afford to function in a broken system is not a long-term solution.

Tax cuts have been proclaimed as ‘counter inflation’ measures but are more likely to fan the flames of inflation than eliminate the problem.

Inflation is created when too much money is chasing too few goods. With this in mind, inflation is tackled by reducing the amount of money in the economy or increasing the supply of goods within that economy. Tax cuts do the opposite.

By increasing the amount of money in the system through tax cuts, the government has seemed to double down on the viewpoint that money is both the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.

Fuel to the fire

Sure, these tax cuts will help to curry favour from a political perspective, but from an economic standpoint, you are simply adding fuel to the fire.

Instead of addressing the systemic problems causing the Cost of Living Crisis, they have simply freed up more money so you can tolerate the intolerable price hikes a little longer.

Take housing, for example.

Paschal Donohoe described housing as the “central issue facing the country”.

Undoubtedly there are some positives from a housing perspective in the Budget, but as the “central issue facing the country”, it falls short.

A band-aid solution

The ‘Rent Tax Credit’, in particular, highlights the band-aid solution being applied here.

Renters will be entitled to a rental credit of €500 per year from 2022 onwards. On the surface, this is much-needed relief for renters, but in reality, it simply exacerbates the problem.

Without getting too into the weeds, in economics, you have something called the paradox of aggregation. If everyone gets the benefit, then nobody gets to feel the effects of that benefit because nobody is better off from a relative standpoint.

If you won the lotto in the morning, you would be unquestionably better off. However, if we all won the lotto in the morning, we would all be richer on an absolute level, but you would no longer be better off relative to your peers. Prices would simply increase to account for the higher levels of wealth in the system.

The same logic applies to the ‘Rent Tax Credit’. Everyone gets it, so nobody benefits. It simply just provides another gear for landlords. You can now ‘afford’ to pay higher rents, allowing landlords to raise rents even further. This is not relief but a mechanism to support higher rental prices in the future masked as support for those caught in the rental crisis.

Rent control, short-term letting restrictions, widespread public housing initiatives, subsidies to incentive construction development, and removal of the endless planning regulations. These are solutions that alleviate the supply side of the problem over the long term.

Instead, the government continues to throw more money at the problem so we can ‘justify’ higher and higher prices.

Housing supply

In fact, in a bizarre move, they have now placed a 10% levy on concrete blocks. Environmental concerns aside, at a point where every possible step needs to be taken to incentivise construction development to increase the housing supply in the system, levies are being applied to increase the cost of building even further.

Maybe I’m being overly cynical here. Compared to the UK budget, the Irish offering is a heroic feat of financial prowess, but another short-term response to the newest crisis at our doorstep is not enough.

Long-term allocation of capital and resources to solve the complete supply/demand mismatch in the housing market, nationalisation of energy, and extensive healthcare reform are areas where the bulk of the budgetary surplus needs to be allocated.

Short-sighted

Constantly repeating or extending ‘temporary measures’ is far too short-sighted. We have already seen an economic contraction in Q1 2022. These contractions may continue as we stare down the barrel of a recession in Europe. The budget surplus won’t always be there.

When it is, we must prioritise long-term investments focused on solving systemic issues. Plastering over the cracks and hoping that the foundations stay intact until the next political party takes the wheel just isn’t enough.

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