If all 'drink link' services were given to Kerry it wouldn't be enough for the county - Healy-Rae

Kerry TD brothers Danny and Michael Healy-Rae in the Dáil
Kerry TD brothers Danny and Michael Healy-Rae in the Dáil
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Kerry TD Micheal Healy-Rae has slammed the Government's proposed 'drink link' service, which will provide 50 rural transport links in 19 counties on a trial basis.

He said that the funding behind the scheme running for 12 months, €1m would not be enough to provide a comprehensive service to Kerry, let alone the whole country.

Healy-Rae told the Today with Sean O'Rourke show that the State-funded bus service, which will run until 11pm servicing rural pubs is a 'sop' and said it was policy aimed at taking the "bad look" off legislation to tackle unaccompanied learner drivers.

"This is a sop by the Government to try and take the bad look off the legislation and take the bad look off what the Minister is actually doing."

He also said that the Minister for Transport Shane Ross is trying to give the impression that this is going to service rural communities.

"If everything he is proposing was directed at Co Kerry that in itself would still not be enough as the area of ground we are talking about is so diverse and has more regional and rural roads than any other part of the country.

"It won't go anywhere near replacing what was there already - that people could make their own way." He also clarified that he would never support people driving a car while drunk "that would be totally outrageous and unacceptable".

He also told Today with Sean O'Rourke that the Minister has "lost the run of himself" and "if he's really interested in saving lives on our roads he should be looking at why we are having so many accidents. There are so many acciddnts that have nothing to do with alcohol and he's doing nothing about that."

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Government Promises

The Government, he said, is trying to fulfil promises it made before the election that they would stand up for rural Ireland, and "now they are going to vote to criminalise parents of children who are going to college and part time work, this was an add on to the legislation."

The legislation, which would allow for the prosecution of anyone who permits an unaccompanied learner driver to use their car and the seizure of the vehicle involved unaccompanied learner drivers, won't stop such accidents happening, he said.

"This wont' stop that - you will always have accidents on our roads. The Minister is trying to drive attention that he is trying to do something for rural Ireland and he's not."

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