Seemless start to metric road scheme says Irish PM
The Irish Government has declared its ongoing metrication programme a success as Ireland’s roads moved from left to right-hand driving this week, with the Taoiseach hailing the change as ‘seamless’.
The move, which came at midnight on Sunday into the early hours of Monday morning is the latest development in a metric programme which brings the Republic into line with the rest of the European Union and is the biggest visible change under the programme since road signs began to display distances in kilometres as opposed to the tyrannical British mile in January. The country-wide change follows a pilot scheme in county Clare which has been running since May 2004.
The Minister for Metrication, Diarmuid O’Mullagh, last night echoed the Taoiseach’s comments and hailed the change as, ‘A victory for Irish independence as we move into the bright sunlight of a free Ireland from the shameful shadow of the British Empire. No more shall the people of this country be forced into the stigma and slavery of left-hand driving.’
The British left-hand drive model was implemented in Ireland in 1922 under an agreement with De Valera in return for cutting a duty tax on Guinness. The emerald isle had previously followed the continental model.
The change has been preceded by months of stealth indoctrination. TV stations have been showing a heavy dose of American and European road movies alongside special editions of popular UK TV programmes such as Top Gear and Celebrity Driving School with the film footage mirrored to show a false representation of the real driving position. ‘In all fairness,’ said O’Mullagh, ‘I think it was showing Thelma and Louise five times on the Saturday that broke the back of the thing, and that’s the truth of it.’
One motorist in Drogheda stated: ‘Bless my soul, begorra, I never noticed, and that I didn’t.”
The Government has warned that following a few weeks grace while protestant motorists learn to adjust, endorseable fixed penalty notices will be issued to drivers who use the left-hand side of the road. The Garda reported a slight rise in road traffic collisions but stated they were, ‘nothing to get worked up about.’
It is expected that Government moves to operate on Central European Time will be brought in on New Year’s Eve, giving revellers a chance to celebrate the start of 2009 twice inside the hour.