Saturday 3 December 2016

TD to vote for drink-drive law despite saying it is 'draconian'

Patricia McDonagh

Published 26/02/2010 | 05:00

A FIANNA Fail backbencher will vote in favour of legislation reducing the drink-driving limit, despite claiming it is an attack on rural Ireland.

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Cork North-West TD Michael Moynihan said the legislation was draconian and would make criminals out of rural dwellers having one or two pints.

But he admitted he would not vent his frustration by voting against the Government to pass the legislation to committee stage.

The comments came as the Dail debated the controversial Road Traffic Bill, which will give effect to the new blood alcohol limit.

Mr Moynihan's Fianna Fail colleague John Browne, who lost his own daughter in a road traffic collision, praised the bill.

Brought in by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey, the legislation will see the blood/alcohol limit reduced from 80mg/100ml to 20mg/100ml for learner, novice and professional drivers. The limit will be lowered to 50mg/100ml for other drivers.

Mr Moynihan said he had lost members of his family through road traffic accidents, but insisted he was against lowering the limit below 80mg.

Isolated

"Further reducing it, and making criminals of people -- in particular elderly people in rural Ireland, those living in isolated areas and travelling once or twice a week to their local pub for one or two pints or glasses of Guinness -- does not shine a great light on us as legislators," he said.

He said the organisation Suicide Aware had written to him to express concern that people would be further isolated as a result of the measure.

"It would behove the Department of Transport and the minister to listen," he said.

"We do not all have taxis or family support, people who can drop us up and down to the pub. Any society should consider these vulnerable people."

But fellow backbencher Mr Browne said: "One of my daughters was killed in a road accident 12 years ago. I would not like that to happen to too many families up and down the country."

Irish Independent

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