Thursday 23 November 2017

Shane Ross admits to driving while over legal alcohol limit 'a long time ago'

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Alan O'Keeffe and Darragh McDonagh

Transport Minister Shane Ross has admitted he got behind the wheel while over the legal alcohol limit in the past.

When asked on 'Prime Time' last night if he had ever driven while over the legal alcohol limit, Mr Ross said: "Of course I have. You see, I haven't had a drink for 30 years or so. So it would have been a very long time ago. But of course I have. And I understand those dangers.

"I understand those from my own situation. But it is very important to me now that people don't accept the culture which was current in the times when I was young and that that culture is forever banished."

The revelation came on the same day as a judge expressed concern that the age profile of drink drivers appeared to be getting younger.

Judge Mary Devins told Ballina District Court yesterday that the average age of people convicted of drink driving used to be upwards of 60 years. However, she said there had been an increasing number of younger people prosecuted for drink-driving offences in recent years.

Judge Devins made the comments during the case of mother-of-two Ciara Moore (37), who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in Crossmolina, Co Mayo, last July. The court heard Moore was stopped by gardaí at 2.55am when they noticed she was driving without headlights.

A smell of alcohol was detected and she was observed to be slurring her speech.

Moore, of Knockroe, Moygownagh, Ballina, was arrested and taken to Ballina garda station, where a test showed she had a blood-alcohol level of 181mg per 100ml - more than three-and-a-half times the legal limit. Her solicitor John Gordon said his client was pleading guilty.

He asked that her driving ban be postponed until June 11 to facilitate the completion of a hairdressing course.

Judge Devins imposed a fine of €250 and disqualified Moore from driving for three years, with effect from June 12.

"The age of drink drivers used to be upwards of 60 years of age, typically, and now it's younger," the judge said.

"Why would you do it when you have two young children?" she asked the defendant.

Moore replied: "I can't answer that. I know it was wrong."

Judge Devins said: "I would like to get into your head, and the heads of people your age and younger, who are drinking and driving. It is a worrying trend."

Irish Independent

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