Wednesday 12 December 2018

'A pint and a half pint never made anybody drunk' - Danny Healy-Rae voices strong opposition to new road traffic laws

Speaking during a Dail debate on new Road Traffic Bill

Danny Healy-Rae
Danny Healy-Rae

Sean Nolan

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae has told the Dail that he is 'vehemently opposed' to the new Road Traffic Bill which would contain lower minimum alcohol limits, saying that 'a pint and a half pint never made anybody drunk'.

Mr Healy-Rae was speaking during the latest debate on the new Bill proposed by Minister Shane Ross.

The new Road Traffic Bill is aiming to crackdown on drink-driving and anyone caught driving with a blood alcohol limit of between 50mg and 80mg per 100ml will be automatically given a three-month driving ban.

Mr Healy-Rae criticised the new limits and said that the Minister had 'angered' people around the country with these proposed new measures.

"Many people around the country are greatly angered by what the Minister is doing, and are asking what they did wrong," Mr Healy-Rae told the Dail.

"They do not believe they ever did anything to the Minister and are wondering whether he is trying to make a name for himself with this Bill.

"The Minister has not shown that people with 50 mg to 80 mg of alcohol in their blood while driving are the cause of fatalities or accidents. I certainly do not condone drunk-driving but a pint and a half pint never made anybody drunk.

"That is the truth. There is a lot of talk at the moment about hard and soft borders. The facts are that in the Six Counties, the limit is 80 mg, not 50 mg. One is not put off the road until there is 80 mg of alcohol in one's blood. In France the limit is 80 mg and if one is caught with a lower level than that, one is just fined; one is not put off the road and there are no penalty points."

Mr Healy-Rae went on to cite the case of an elderly man he knew and the impact the proposed change would have on his social life.

"When this law is brought forward they will only have one thing to do; stay at home," he said.

"They will not be able to socialise. They will not be able to go out to their local pub to have a pint and a half pint in the way they have been doing.

"I know a man of 93 years of age, and he has his pint and his half pint - at the very most two pints - and he has never been over the 80 mg limit.

"As Deputy Michael Healy-Rae has said, discretion was allowed.

"That man is 93 years of age but the minute this Bill is enacted, that man will be at home for the rest of his days because he will know that at the 50 mg level he will not be able to have a pint. That is the effect this Bill will have on such a man and many more like him, those who have worked tirelessly to put this country together."

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