independent

Saturday 25 October 2014

Appalled, repulsed, ashamed

DONAL NOLAN

Published 23/01/2013 | 13:58

A PROMINENT economist and Kerry native who lost a family member to drink driving said on Tuesday that he is 'appalled' and ' repulsed' by Cllr Danny Healy-Rae's efforts to increase drinkdriving limits for people in rural Ireland.

Professor of Finance at Trinity College Dublin and Waterville native Brian Lucey told The Kerryman he believed it was 'grossly irresponsible' of the councillor to call for drink driving limits to be raised for people in rural Ireland.

Professor Lucey lost an immediate family member in a drink-driving crash years ago. He added that he was 'ashamed' that the motion was put forward in his name as a native of Kerry. Professor Lucey said the laws are vital in saving lives.

"I'm appalled by it [Cllr Healy Rae's proposal]. I think it is grossly and totally irresponsible," he told The Kerryman.

Road safety chiefs have described as 'unthinkable' the notion that Cllr Healy Rae could seek to increase drink driving limits when such substantial progress has been made in recent years in reducing road deaths. Chief Executive of the Road Safety Authority, Noel Brett, slammed Cllr Healy Rae's motion as 'off the wall' and said he and those who supported it were dragging the country back to the dark ages. PROFESSOR of Finance at Trinity College and Kerry native Brian Lucey, who lost an immediate family member in a road traffic accident caused by drink driving, has described Councillor Danny Healy Rae's proposal on drink driving as 'appalling' and 'repulsive' and said it made him ashamed to see his home county associated with the move.

Kerry County Council endorsed the Kilgarvan publican's calls on Monday to allow people living in isolated rural areas drive home after two or three drinks in a move that captured national airwaves amid deep criticism.

Waterville native Prof Lucey lost a family member to drink driving in the 1980s. He said he was 'appalled' by the councillor's proposal. "I'm appalled by it. I think it is grossly and totally irresponsible to suggest anyone should exceed what are reasonable limits for drink driving at present," he told The Kerryman. "I think it also gives a terrible image of the county and makes the county council look like a bunch of village idiots. If you ever wanted a reason to abolish councils this is a perfect example."

He said that councillors who absented themselves or abstained from voting 'effectively allowed' the proposal to go through and said they should be 'ashamed' of themselves.

He said publicans have far more options open to them to improve their trade. "One, they should drop the price of drink. Two, they should provide cheap minivan services to carry people home and three, they should make their pubs more sociable places rather than just drinking places," Prof Lucey added.

Cllr Healy Rae justified his proposal in part by saying rural isolation caused by people not being able to drive to their locals was leading to depression and causing suicide in some instances. "It makes me ashamed as a Kerry man to see this going out in my name."

Using Twitter, the Waterville native signalled his opposition to the Kerry County Council move in no uncertain terms since Monday.

"Having lost a family member to drink driving I find repulsive the calls by Healy Rae to allow drink driving," he tweeted on Tuesday morning.

In another tweet he described Kerry County Council's vote to write to the minister on the issue as 'shameful gibbering insanity'.

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