independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

A drink or two might be okay... but we're not supporting 'insane' Danny Healy Rae

WE might allow a drink or two - but we're not willing to change the law on drink driving.

That was the stance taken by Cork county councillors across the border from Danny Healy Rae country this week, after he swayed their Kerry counterparts with a motion to allow rural dwellers have 'a drink or two' above the limit - under licence from the Gardai.

Counillors in Duhallow showed some sympathy for Healy Rae's cause, but hit the brakes when it came to placing a motion before Cork County Council themselves.

Meanwhile, a local young anti-drink driving campaigner said she thought it was all an early April Fool's joke - before branding the whole escapade 'insanity'.
 

A DUHALLOW councillor was in "broad favour" of Cllr Danny Healy Rae's motion, passed by Kerry County Council thas week and calling for 'gardai permits' to be issued to people living in rural areas to allow them have "a drink or two" above the legal limit.

Cllr Noel Buckley (FG) said our drink driving legislation is causing a "major problem" for people living in rural areas, especially those living on their own.

While Cllr Buckley won't be bringing it before Cork County Council "I am in broad favour of what he (Cllr Danny Healy Rae) did".

Cllr Buckley said he is personally aware of elderly people who cannot go to the pub because of the drink driving regulations. "Statistics show that elderly people are not involved in accidents," he said.

His party colleague, Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) said he would absolutely not support Cllr Danny Healy Rae's motion in any shape or form.

His view was that if local development committees got extra funding, they would then be in a position to bring elderly people living in rural areas to town "for a few sociable hours."

"There shouldn't be any interference with the current drink driving legislation what so ever," said Cllr Murphy.

But Cllr Timmy Collins (Ind) also saw a crux. "There are people living alone in rural areas and they can't go to the pub for a drink. Some people can drink a couple of pints and drive home and they are careful drivers," he noted - but he would not call for a Healy- Rae style motion to be passed for the Kanturk area.

"People are now settled into not drinking and driving ... the reality is now you don't have any choice as nobody wants to lose their driving licence," said Cllr Collins, who was "surprised" to hear that Kerry County Council passed the motion as the vast amount of people "phoning into radio stations" are totally against it.

"I don't think any other council in the country would pass that motion. The law is the law and the law must be abided by," he said.

While Cllr Bart Donegan (FF) would not raise susch as motion ... "But having said that, I do in a way see where he [Healy-Rae] is coming from," hesaid.

"There are people who can have two to three pints and drive away home and they don't cause any accidents at all. The new drink driving rules are harsh, but the reality is, that the law is the law," said Cllr Donegan.

So, it seems, that across the border from Healy-Rae's own stomping ground the local county councillors won't be seeking "less severe drink driving regulations" - despite there being definite sympathy for the isolated rural dweller.

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