A young Irish mother's life was shattered when she witnessed her 6-year old son being mowed down by a car in a quiet cul-de-sac in their housing estate in County Kilkenny. Cradling him in her arms, Roseann Brennan heard her little boy Jake utter his dying words: “Mammy, I Don’t Want to Die.’’
Her son was killed by a neighbor who accelerated from parked to 50 kilometers an hour (31 miles per hour) in a matter of meters. Roseann was shocked to discover that vehicles could legally travel at those speeds in Irish housing estates and residential areas.
Roseann fought for justice for Jake and was determined that his death would make a difference. She never wanted any other parent to witness and experience the horrors that she and her family have gone through.
Through a campaign called Jake’s Legacy, she is succeeding in her bid to reduce speeds in more than 4,000 housing estates all around Ireland from 50 kilometers an hour (31 miles an hour) to 30 kilometers an hour (18 miles an hour). It was a battle with the political establishment that cost her physically and mentally and came close to ending her marriage.
Four years after Jake’s death, Roseann is as committed as ever to campaigning to have all housing estates with 30 kilometers an hour (18 miles an hour) speed limits. However, the decision to reduce speeds in housing estates remains in the hands of local authorities and she is still fighting for the speed limits to be made mandatory nationwide.
According to Roseann, what happened to Jake will continue to happen until the speed limits apply to all estates and residential areas.
“I would hold my children’s hands walking down the street in our town to keep them safe, yet I never imagined they would be in this danger outside their front door. Lower speeds save lives and this is proven, that is all I am looking for.”
Roseann documented her mental breakdown, her tireless campaigning and how her love for her two surviving children have saved her life. She also relates how she and her husband Christopher are rediscovering their love for each other again after grief tore their marriage apart.
Roseann details her candid, heart-breaking story in “Mammy I Don’t Want To Die” which is available from all online bookstores. She wrote it in memory of her beloved son and make more people aware of his story. She hopes that it will make drivers everywhere slow down when they get behind the wheel of a car.
She believes the book will also help keep Jake’s Legacy campaign in the spotlight and pressurize the Irish government into making the 30 kilometers an hour (18 miles an hour) speed limit mandatory in all estates.
To the best of my knowledge, all the above is correct at the time of publication and is based on a conversation with Roseann Brennan and content from her book “Mammy I Don’t Want To Die.”
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.