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Driven to distraction by safety clampdown

It wasn't altogether clear whether the listener who sent the message thought the limits were ridiculously low or ridiculously high.

As driving lessons become compulsory before taking a driving test, outraged fingers were texting. One said the new plan used the stick instead of the carrot -- and was just a revenue-generating exercise.

It's kind of hard to know how the new rules will bring revenue in to the Government, unless it's through taxing the income of driving instructors. Or maybe it's because the demand for expensive State-supported hospital treatment will plummet if youngsters know how to drive properly?

Niall Toibin was first in, saluting Mick's wonderful warmth. He was nothing like his most famous character, said Niall. Mick Lally was far to the left, highly intelligent, humorous -- but people thought of him as 'Miley', the simple, innocent farmer.

The tributes poured in. Fidelma, the brazen strap who nearly broke up Miley's marriage (in the person of actress Eunice MacMenamin); Siraj Zaidi, who played Glenroe's Turkish restaurateur, burst into helpless tears as he talked of "a beautiful man".

Then a shocked Gabriel Byrne rang from the US. His voice trembled, a couple of hours after hearing of his friend's death. "I've known Mick for so long . . ."

Coughing back the tears, Gabriel told the story of meeting Mick one day cycling along Camden Street. A couple of guys stopped and rolled down their car windows and roared out: "Hey! Miley! Any chance of selling us a few mushrooms there?"

Gabriel said: "Mick turned to me and said, 'Jaysus, there's a price to be paid for everything'."

Michael Dempsey, a country bachelor, said he was going to leave Ireland and open a bar in Thailand.

Have you been to Thailand, asked Ray. Nope, his only holiday was in the Isle of Man. But Thailand sounds good -- you could live well for €20 a week.

And a companion? With an eerie laugh, Michael mentioned his cleaner at home. Would she be interested?

Ah now. Marriage isn't so easy. One of the trapped Chilean miners is dreading the light at the end of the tunnel: Ray described how as Yonni Barrios's wife cried at the head of the shaft drilled to help the entombed miners, she heard an echo.

"Barrios! Barrios! Barrios!" she wept. And another voice, over there on the left, echoed: "Barrios! Barrios! Barrios!"

Senor Barrios, it seemed, had been playing away. Luckily he has until Christmas, when the miners are expected to be rescued, to compose a good excuse.


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