Donegal Senator Eileen Flynn has spoken of passing her driving test in Donegal years after almost dying in a horrific road smash.
Seantor Flynn, who lives in Ardara, was speaking in the Dail about the need for improvements in rural transport.
She told how in October, 2000, just days after her mother’s day, she was involved in a horrific road smash on the Kylemore Road in Dublin.
A van in which herself and her uncle were traveling in went under a bus.
She told a hushed Dail chamber “I was left in intensive care for five days. I spent nearly two years of my life in Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, in St. Joseph’s ward and I know exactly how lucky I am to be alive today.
“It is not a sad story; 23 operations later, I am still here and I am so lucky to be able to tell this story. I know what consequences a collision can have on an individual. I am nearly 34 years of age and still today I suffer chronic pain.
“I suffer with my back and all the left side of my body. I genuinely support the campaigns for people to slow down and to be cautious on the road. I support any positive action for better road safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and for drivers,” she said.
Senator Flynn then told how she passed the driving test in Donegal and now commutes from Ardara to the capital.
“Thankfully, I built up the courage. I have to drive because I live in rural Ireland. I did the driving test in Donegal and passed it first time. There was a long wait for it. I now drive from Donegal to Dublin,” she said.
But she slammed the lack of public transport options in rural parts of the county and said many have no option but to drive.
“I do not feel I have a choice because the public transport does not meet my needs, even in Donegal. If I need to take one of my kids to an appointment, I cannot just hop on a bus in rural Ireland.
“It does not work that way. We really need to invest in our public transport. In fourth year in school, children in rural Ireland should be given classes on safe driving, being safe on the roads so that they have the opportunity to do their theory test in fourth year and support to do that.
“We need to get people in who have survived car crashes and whatever else may go with that. I know I am so lucky to not be in a wheelchair and I am so lucky that I am able to walk,” she said.