independent

Saturday 30 August 2014

Drink drive proposal shows contempt

DEBORAH COLEMAN

Published 30/01/2013 | 13:08

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ITHOUGHT it was some sort of tasteless joke to learn of the motion carried at Kerry County Council last week that members will lobby the Minister for Justice to grant permits to rural dwellers to drink and drive. am simply appalled that any self respecting public representative would propose such a thing and even more shocked that publican, namely Cllr. Danny Healy-Rae would think it a wise move.

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The Healy-Raes have always been very successful at headline grabbing and this week is no different. There are a hundred different opinions on his argument that those living in isolated areas should be permitted to drink two or three pints and drive home. This in itself shows utter contempt to so many families in Ireland who have lost loved ones on the roads to the scourge of drunk driving.

All the evidence points to the fact that even one drink impairs judgement and is not a wise move whether the roads are quiet or not, whether they drive slowly or not. The laws are in place for a reason and nobody should be exempt from them.

All over Ireland, especially within younger groups the education has been very much taken on board and designated drivers, hackneys, taxis and hi-vis jackets are all utilised to ensure that safety is paramount where drinking is concerned. Yet there is a certain section of society adamant in flouting the laws and getting behind the wheel having consumed alcohol.

I'm surprised that 12 councillors failed to turn up for the vote and would have preferred them to attend and clearly outline their opinions on such a radical proposal. Nobody can deny that rural areas have been affected by new drink driving laws and it's a well known fact that there are sadly many older people, men in particular that view the pub as their only social outlet.

If Cllr. Healy-Rae really wanted to address this issue and make a positive change then there are much better ways of going about it than the ridiculous motion tabled.If isolation is the problem or lack of transport then fundraise for a community taxi, lobby companies to reduce rates and expand their services.

Of course there is also the shocking suggestion that perhaps new forms of social interaction could be created that don't begin and end with alcohol.

Cllr. Healy-Rae would be much better served coming up with more sensible solutions to the problem as he outlined it than trying to feather his own nest as a businessman while looking for votes.

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