Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Exclusive: Ireland's road users are granted 'drink drive permits'
DANNY HEALY-RAE WAS celebrating today after his controversial motion to allow 'drink driving in moderation' was passed by a Dáil majority of 90-76.
The Kerry councillor first proposed the issuing of permits "to drink two or three pints before driving home" to members of isolated rural communities in January 2013, provoking outrage amongst those members of society vehemently opposed to carnage on Irish roads.
While legislation seemed unlikely at that point, it has now been passed by a Government keen to steer the national debate away from the subject of an ailing economy.
One TD, who did not wish to be named, said: "There was a time when a piece of legislation such as this would never have even come to a vote, but the collective inebriation of the Dáil chamber, coupled with the need to reduce the country's rural population and therefore the burden on the Exchequer, should see it pass easily."
A jubilant Cllr Healy-Rae called it a "victory for common sense."
"I've met all sorts of people from communities throughout Kerry who were initially opposed to the scheme, citing all sorts of guff about months of physiotherapy, families broken up and wounds that never heal, but I soon found that after a couple a couple of rounds they were able to see my way of thinking," he said at his pub in Kilgarvan, County Kerry.
When shown evidence that stricter drink-drive rules, introduced in the Road Traffic Act 2011, had greatly reduced the number of accidental deaths and injuries on Ireland's roads, Cllr Healy-Rae was nonplussed.
"Look, you can show me all manner of statistics and numbers and data and all that jazz, but the fact is that a couple of pints never hurted anyone."
Back in January 2013, Cllr Healy-Rae said: "There are many people locked in at home now in rural, isolated places who are looking at the four walls and they can't get out because they can't even have one drink."
When it was pointed out to the Independent Councillor that alcohol itself acts as a depressant and has been ruled ineffective in the fight against deteriorating mental health, he responded: "Where I come from there's no harm whatsoever in telling a man to cop himself on and throwing a ball o' milk his way, do you get me?
"Look, nobody knows more than I the benefits of a few pints of an evening, playing cards or what have you? As a young lad I walked those same roads and even got the odd lick of a Toyota Corolla or Mike Hassett's jeep, and has it done me any harm?"