Saturday 29 April 2017

Ross sees his drink law plans fall flat

Mr Ross wants to replace penalty points with an automatic three-month ban for drivers found to have reached an alcohol limit of between 50mg-80mg per 100ml. Stock Image: PA
Mr Ross wants to replace penalty points with an automatic three-month ban for drivers found to have reached an alcohol limit of between 50mg-80mg per 100ml. Stock Image: PA
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Transport Minister Shane Ross's controversial drink-driving plan is dead in the water after one of the Government's two Independent ministers, as well Fianna Fáil, expressed their strong opposition.

Mr Ross wants to replace penalty points with an automatic three-month ban for drivers found to have reached an alcohol limit of between 50mg-80mg per 100ml. Opponents say this is the equivalent of a glass of wine.

As revealed by the Irish Independent last week, several Fine Gael ministers have vowed to block the proposals, which have been sent for "pre-legislative scrutiny."

Now, both Communications Minister Denis Naughten and the Fianna Fáil party have expressed their outright opposition.

Sources said Mr Naughten has raised his concerns directly with Mr Ross, as have Fine Gael members of Cabinet.

It comes as figures obtained by Fianna Fáil for Cork East Kevin O'Keeffe show that just one motorist was caught so far this year having reached the 50-80mg limit.

Speaking to the Irish Independent last night, Mr O'Keeffe said the proposals are causing deep concern within rural Ireland.

"If implemented, they would have a detrimental effect on our rural communities, commuter counties and such," Mr O'Keeffe said.

"It would lead to unspeakable hardship if and when someone loses their livelihood as a result of someone being put off the road in such an arbitrary manner together with all the hardship in terms of supporting a dependent family," he SAID.

Some 69 people fell into this category in 2016, compared to 62 the year previous.

The figures show that a single motorist was recorded as falling into this bracket this year to date.

Irish Independent

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