Farm leaders on collision course with Minister on drink-driving proposals
Farm organisations are totally opposed to proposals to impose mandatory driving bans on all motorists who exceed the drink-driving limits by even the smallest margins.
Describing the zero-tolerance approach to the drink-driving limits as absurd and unrealistic, both the ICMSA and ICSA claimed automatic driving bans would finish rural pubs and have a negative impact on life in rural areas.
Their comments come as Shane Ross, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, announced a meeting of rural stakeholders to discuss criticism of his Road Traffic Bill.
The meeting will take place on September 7 and will involve representatives of the farming organisations, as well as the vintners, the insurance industry and those involved in rural development.
Minister Ross's bill will introduce an automatic driving ban for all motorists who exceed the blood alcohol limits. Currently, drivers who marginally exceed the limits can receive a fine and penalty points.
The blood alcohol limit for learner, novice and commercial drivers is 20mg/100ml, while the normal limit is 50mg/100ml.
In a letter to the various stakeholders Minister Ross (inset) claimed there was "overwhelming" support in rural Ireland for his stance on drink driving.
He said his bill would combat "the scourge of drink driving" and rejected suggestions that the move would adversely affect rural life.