Thursday 19 October 2017

Colette Browne: Why the Healy-Rae brothers deserve a toast - not hysterical criticism

The Healy-Rae brothers Michael (left) and Danny, Independent deputies for Kerry, at Leinster House
The Healy-Rae brothers Michael (left) and Danny, Independent deputies for Kerry, at Leinster House
Colette Browne

Colette Browne

The level of smug condescension directed at the Healy-Raes reached epidemic proportions last week when the Kerry TDs had the temerity to question the effectiveness of new drink-driving legislation proposed by Transport Minister Shane Ross.

To listen to some of the more hysterical criticism, one could be forgiven for thinking that Danny Healy-Rae wants to abolish drink driving laws altogether. Speaking at an Oireachtas Transport Committee last week, he had the gall to query whether changing the penalty for drink driving offences would prove to be the panacea for road deaths that Mr Ross suggested it would be.

Currently, those found to be driving with a blood-alcohol level of between 50mg and 80mg per 100ml receive three penalty points and a €250 fine for a first offence. Mr Ross wants to change this and impose a mandatory three-month disqualification for anyone who falls into this category. Doing so, he said, would save 35 lives over the next five years.

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