Saturday 7 December 2019

'I have to grow up without my daddy' - daughter of man killed in crash says TD's call for 'two-pint permit' is 'selfish'

Sasha-Leigh Salkeld, whose father was killed in a car crash
Sasha-Leigh Salkeld, whose father was killed in a car crash

Aoife Walsh 

THE young daughter of a man who was killed in a car crash has criticised calls for rural drivers to be given a “two-pint permit” for certain local roads allowing them to socialise and drink alcohol.

Sasha-Leigh Salkeld was just five months old when her father Lee and her mother Kate Flynn were involved in a horrific car crash on their way to Cork Airport in October 2009.

The driver of the other car, Anthony Long, had consumed 11 cans, seven pints and a line of cocaine.

Lee and his friend, Brendan Donnelly (24), were both killed in the crash.

Sasha-Leigh (10), from Waterford, said calls by Kerry Independent TD, Danny Healy-Rae for rural drivers to be given a “two-pint permit” allowing them to drink alcohol and drive was “very stupid”.

“I lost my daddy because of the thing they’re trying to make legal,” she told told Independent.ie.

Danny Healy-Rae. Photo: Tom Burke
Danny Healy-Rae. Photo: Tom Burke

“I think that they’re being very stupid. I’m a 10-year-old trying to stop it, and they’re grown men risking other people’s lives.

“They’re being very stupid and they’re risking other people’s lives. It’s very selfish.

“If you only have one pint, that’s still bad because that’s still the exact same as having 10 drinks. It’s all drink driving.”

The schoolgirl also warned motorists that driving while intoxicated is “very selfish” and puts other people's lives at risk.

“I just want to stop drink driving because I lost my dad to drink driving. It’s a very cruel thing because they’re not just risking themselves, they’re risking a lot more people.

“I don’t want anybody else to grow up without having a really special family member in their life. I have to grow up without my daddy,” she said.

“I’d like to say to them just leave your keys at home and get a lift off one of your friends that’s not drinking and doesn’t have anything in their system.

“If you have money to drink then you have money to go and get a taxi.

“Just because a taxi is a little more expensive, it doesn’t mean that you can just go and drink and drive.”

Sasha-Leigh's mother Kate Flynn also criticised Mr Healy-Rae’s opposition to legislation which imposes a driving ban on first-time drink-driving offenders where they previously received a fine and penalty points.

“So what happens, they go ahead, they get a permit, kill a car full of people and orphan children. Are they exempt from execution because, ‘Oh well, I have a permit here that the Healy-Rae’s managed to get for me’. Just because they live in the country? It’s lunacy,” said Ms Flynn.

“This is something that can be prevented. Lee and Brendan didn’t have to die that night. I didn’t have to cradle my fiancé in my arms as he died.

“People drink drive because they think they’re a good driver, or because they’ve gotten away with it for so long. The luck runs out eventually. The proof is here. You say ‘It’ll never happen to us’. It happened. My 10-year-old is proof of the pain it causes.

“Let them spend 10 minutes with my daughter, and listen to her. Let them come on Father’s Day and watch her leave the school gates with her Father’s Day card - see how they feel then.

“This is the reality of it.”

The Kerry TD came under fire when he told the Dáil last week that the closure of rural pubs had “left the social fabric in smithereens” as he proposed the "two-pint permit".

“I’m asking you to provide a permit for the people who are only travelling on local rural class-three roads so they can have their two pints and drive home on those roads,” the Kilgarvan TD said.

“If they stray beyond those roads then nail them, but give them a chance to live and give them a chance to try it. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” Mr Healy-Rae added.

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