Road accidents show a considerable increase in the Free State during the past year, according to statistics just issued. 226 persons were kilted in road accidents during 1935, an increase of 35 on the previous year. The number of non-fatal injuries increased by 487 to 3,599. Compared with the figures from other countries these are small. Nevertheless in a country of 3,000,000 inhabitants it is a number sufficiently large to warrant alarm and to call for measures to ensure greater road safety.
An analysis of the causes of these accidents points in the direction in which supervision is required. In more than 25 per cent. of the total accidents a car driver failed to exercise proper care at crossings or road junctions. In the Free State there are no motor roads as such and even the best main roads abound in blind corners, hidden crossings and bends cambered with a total lack of appreciation of motor-car dynamics.
Although the cost of improving these points would undoubtedly be very high :here seems no other solution of the problem. The English attempt at a speed limit has caused widespread discontent and a huge increase in prosecutions. The question of cambering corners properly is one that should be taken up very seriously and instructions should be issued to all County Road Surveyors. The expense of doing a corner properly is no greater than that of doing it wrong. and motor-cars would no longer be compelled to take corners on the off-side in self-defence as they are at present.
The Careless Cyclist
A second cause of accidents was the careless cyclists, of whom 977 were involved during the year. In one-third of these cases the cyclist was at fault in swerving in front of moving vehicles. The careless cyclist, with no sense of his responsibilities and not burdened by licence, tax or insurance, is perhaps the greatest problem in the reduction of road accidents. Yet here again there is a turther difficulty. The cyclist often sins unwittingly. Probably ninety per cent. of cyclists have never driven a motor-car and have no idea of
the difficulties of the car-driver. They take it for granted he can act with the same freedom as they themselves and force him in good faith into situations in which accidents arc unavoidable. The first approach to the cyclist problem must be a method of instruction which will enable cyclists to co-operate with more understanding with other road users.
And we have still to account for a huge army of pedestrians who do not look before them, for unattended children who dash across roads, and for obsolete thoroughfares unfit to bear the volume of present-day traffic.
Truces of Privilege
The Dail's -first act on re-assembly was to send back the bill abolishing university
representation to the Senate. Eighteen months ago this bill was rejected by the Senate; and even if it is again rejected by the Senate, it will automatically become
law at the end of sixty days. It is not evident why the government is in such a hurry to have this bill placed on the statute book. This would be clear enough if a general election were in the offing, since the government can count on at most two seats out of the six at present filled by the two universities of the Free State, and with party opinion delicately divided in this country every vote may be vital. The government however continues to deny the ever recurrent rumours of an immediate election on the basis of a new constitution and claim that the bill is nothing more than an item in their plan to remove all traces of privilege in public life. Mr. Lemass asserts that the government still enjoys public confidence and fully intends to stay in office fen its normal time. This would mean an election in 1938.
Speaking at Dun Laoghaire, Mr. Cosgrave made a very vigorous indictment of the government policy. In contradistinction to his own policy of better relations with Great Britain, a more literal regard for treaty obligations and closer co-operations with the Dominions, he reviewed Mr. de Valera's policy as an attempt to combine the advantages of dominion status with the aloofness of a republic, without succeeding in either respect. To Mr. Cosgrave's mind the economic war brings no profit or prestige to this country and no inconvenience to Great Britain. Its only effects are ill-feeling and misunderstanding in the political field, disabilities in trade and higher taxation at home. Mr. de Valera, he says, recognises the need for a link with England founded on the mutual interests of the two islands, the need for a common defensive policy and a form of " external association " which to Mr. Cosgrave is indistinguishable from present dominion status. As for a thirtytwo county republic, it had receded entirely from practical politics and could no longer be considered as anything but a pious wish.
Mr. Cosgrave's Facts and Figures The attempt at making the country entirely self-contained and able to exist without an export market had been admitted a failure by the signing of the Coal-Cattle Pact now renewed for a second year, a pact from which England stood to gain far more than the Free State.
Yet in spite of an imposing array of facts and figures, Mr. Cosgrave's cause seems to become less and less popular. When Mr. de Valera originally came to power, his most strenuous opponents were the moneyed classes. But these have now been forced to put through an industrial policy which stands to lose from any change; and from motives of self-interest they are Fianna Fails most vigorous supporters. Banks, public bodies, chambers of commerce, industrial organisations, all have testified to a most satisfactory year. There is no evidence of the immedtate bankruptcy so confidently prophesied some years ago. It is still too soon to pass a final judgment of Fianna Fail's great experiment.
The Shrink at Knock
Steps are being taken to have the shrine at Knock, County Mayo, recognised as a special shrine of our Lady by the Holy See. The Archbishop of Tuam, in whose diocese the shrine is situated, has forwarded to Rome a copy of a recently published authoritative book by District Justice Coyne. This book contains eye
witnesses' affidavits of the visions in 1879, an account of the ecclesiastical investigations then held, and a history of the pilgrimage to date. The book will be translated into Italian and submitted to the Congregation of Rites.
During the recent years public interest in this shrine has increased considerably. A society has been formed with a membership now exceeding 2,500 for the promotion of the shrine's cause and a medical bureau on the lines of that at Lourdes has been established to examine all reported cures. A number of cases were examined by the bureau following the annual pilgrimage last August but apparently in no case was there sufficient improvement to warrant official confirmation.
DE VALERA RECEIVES INDIAN LEADER Barred From Landing In England
Mr. Subhas Bose, the former mayor of Calcutta who has been barred from landing in England, was last week cordially received by Mr. de Valera, president of the executive council of the Irish Free State.
Afterwards Mr. Bose said he had had an interesting chat with Mr. de Valera, for whom he had a great admiration. The Irish struggle for freedom had been followed with profound sympathy by millions of the Indian race, who were also struggling for national liberty at the same time. Ireland's success, he said, had given new heart to India.
Mr. Bose had intended going to London to preside over a conference convened by the Indian National Congress, and the ban on his landing was the subject of questions in the House of Commons in December.
An important statement in reply to Arab demands was given lately by the high commissioner, who declared that there was no question of a Iota! stoppage of Jewish immigration into Palestine, but that landowners would be prevented from selling any of their land unless they retained a minimum area sufficient for their and their family's subsistence.