Sir, I wish to respectfully comment on Cllr Danny Healy Rae's recent proposal to allow rural dwellers to drive under the influence of elevated levels of alcohol, contrary to the law. In doing so I do not wish to minimise the very real social issues facing those who perhaps live alone or find themselves confined to an isolated living environment. I appreciate the difficulties faced on a daily basis by socially isolated people and I would be among the first to support any social initiative that would improve their quality of life. However, the proposal put forward by Cllr Healy Rae and supported by others is at least ill considered and at worst insulting to families who have lost loved ones in drink related incidents. I would be interested to know how he can justify such a proposal and whether he is aware of reputable scientific tests or results that would in some way support his proposal?
In recent years the numbers of fatalities on Irish roads has decreased significantly. This is down to the outstanding efforts of the legislators, Gardai and reputable bodies such as the RSA, whose collective campaigning has promoted public awareness of the effects and dangers of drink driving.
I lost my son due to the irresponsible actions of a drunk driver. Unlike those who live in isolation and may be helped by proactive social schemes I am condemned to a life of loneliness without my son as are all families who have lost loved ones to completely avoidable incidents.
In this day and age there can be no excuse or justification for any driver getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated. The Brendan's Law campaign actively lobbies all relevant parties to extend the power to seize and impound a vehicle where a driver is found to be over the legal limit. I respectfully suggest that Cllr Healy Rae and politicians at all levels should support extending powers Gardai already have in situations where the driver is found to be uninsured. We believe our proposal to be reasonable, fair and will serve as an effective deterrent. We seek justice not vengeance.
The levels detailed in the law are established following due diligence and extensive research on the effects of alcohol. I suspect Cllr Healy Rae is offering a personal opinion unsupported by any known research. I accept people living in isolated areas deserve any assistance they may receive but his proposal is an appalling affront to all who have suffered needless loss in rural and urban areas. He cannot possibly understand the devastation caused by any avoidable tragedy that changes families for ever. His proposal has attracted almost universal condemnation from all sectors of society. I appeal to Cllr Healy Rae to show moral courage and publicly withdraw what is in plain speaking a socially irresponsible and dangerous proposal and replace it with alternative initiatives that will help those in need without endangering the welfare of any member of the public.