There’s no shortage of symbols for the problems that beset Irish governance, from electronic voting machines to the continued attempts to strangle Freedom of Information.
Back when the Celtic Tiger was purring nicely, and the government was running out of ways to spend money (because fixing schools and hospitals would have made too much sense) we decided to convert our speed limit signs to metric.
It was a major undertaking, and if nothing else had the benefit of educating drivers about the speed limits on Irish roads.
After the change, there were a set of defaults in place: 120km/h on motorways, 100km/h on national roads, 80km/h on regional roads, 50km/h (and occasionally 30km/h) in towns and villages.
But what about a road where the default didn’t really match conditions? Some regional roads are dual carriageways where 100km/h is a safe speed. And some national and regional roads are dangerous long before you hit 80km/h.
Reviews were promised.
And then pretty much nothing happened.
Now the government is promising a proper review of all those small rural roads with 80km/h limits.
Well, sort of.
The government promises “rural slow signs“.
But the limits will be unchanged.
The appearance of change, made real.