W hen Kerry County Council's publican councillors decided that rural drivers should be able to drive with a higher level of alcohol in their system, it was little surprise that the native and world media had a field day.
Once again, the image of rural Ireland was subjected to the same old stereotypes, which do nothing except satisfy the cravings of the media on a slow news day.
Leaving aside the mirth arising from the council's motion, it should be noted that the Kerry proposal does not suggest allowing wholesale drinking and driving.
However, for the families of road traffic victims, there would be little comfort knowing that a rural pub might be saved by such a proposal, if the life of their loved one was not.
The bigger issue arising from this type of rural lobbying is that it is hard for any policymaker to take rural communities seriously, if that is the level of debate that can be mustered.
As I write, over 100 garda stations are facing closure, on top of 39 closed last year. Other closures, such as those of bank branches, post offices, local shops and a host of health-related programmes, continue apace. Rural poverty is increasing, and more and more people are forced to remain in their home because they cannot afford a car or are restricted from driving due to ill health.
Yet there have been no concrete motions passed at county council level to address any of these issues.
In an ideal world, the saving of rural communities would now be the subject of a major government white paper.
This would consider various rural issues, including pubs, transport, the feasibility of village co-operatives and provision of local employment.
Such a process, supported by a strong political will, could begin to address the very real problems facing rural communities.
And it would mean a proper debate on these issues, rather than just the laughter prompted by the Kerry County Council motion.
Seamus Boland is CEO of Irish Rural Link