Friday 20 April 2018

Our countryside of bad roads, limited bus services and broken social links

Cllr Danny Healy Rae
Cllr Danny Healy Rae

Lorraine Courtney

Here in Kerry, councillor Danny Healy-Rae has revived that daft and dangerous notion of drink-drive permits just as Bus Éireann announces cuts to 93 services countrywide. These new cuts will leave 15 towns and villages without a direct link to Dublin.

Basically, Healy-Rae reckons that people in isolated areas should be allowed drink "a few pints" in their local and drive slowly home afterwards. The motion first passed by Kerry county council back in 2013 was: "To ask the minister for justice to introduce legislation to allow gardaí to issue permits to people living in rural isolated areas to allow them to drive home from their nearest pub after having two or three drinks on little used roads driving at very low speeds."

The story grew legs and appeared in international media outlets, distorted as a scandal about Ireland passing laws to allow drink-driving. Politicians and road safety chiefs expressed their alarm and outrage, and maybe Healy-Rae garnered a few votes for himself on the rock-strewn slopes of Coomanaspig.

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