Irish County Drink Driving Rules Could Be Relaxed In Kerry 'To Combat Depression'A rural county in Ireland has supported a proposal to allow drink-driving to prevent people from becoming depressed.
Kerry County councillors voted in favour of a motion that would issue permits to isolated older residents, allowing them to have 'two or three drinks' and still drive home, according to The Journal.ie.
Councillor Danny Healy-Rae argued that rural drivers had never killed anyone on the roads in Kilgarvan and told the newspaper: “A lot of these people are living in isolated rural areas where there’s no public transport of any kind, and they end up at home looking at the four walls, night in and night out, because they don’t want to take the risk of losing their licence.”
Healey-Rae, himself a pub landlord, claimed the local watering hole was still the centre of the community in rural Ireland and the country roads were empty and narrow meaning drivers could go no faster than 20 or 30mph anyway.
To keep older residents at home in fear of losing their licence meant "all the wisdom and wit and culture they had, the music and singing, that's all being lost to the younger generation," he argued.
Calling on the minister of justice, Alan Shatter, to allow the garda to issue the permits he added: "They're travelling in very minor roads, often on tractors, with very little traffic and it's not right they're being treated the same as the rest of the travelling public and they have never killed anyone," reported the Irish Independent.
Driving the tractor back from the pub 'less dangerous'
The motion was passed by five votes to three with seven councillors abstaining and 12 absent from the meeting. Mr Healey-Rae's son Johnny, also a councillor, was among those who voted in favour.
However a number of politicians have spoken out against the proposal, labelling it "dangerous" and inaccurate.
Labour councillor Gillian Wharton-Slattery told Healy-Rae: “Depression causes suicide. It’s not caused by not being able to go to the pub. There’s more things to do in Kilgarvan than go into your pub.”
The mayor of Kerry also weighed in to condemn to motion, telling Irish broadcaster RTE: "It is incredibly dangerous. I don't know how anybody can be allowed to say: 'You've had two pints, so you're justified to drive'."
Noel Brett from the Road Safety Authority also condemned the idea, saying: “There is very strong evidence which makes an irrefutable link between the consumption of alcohol and impairment.”
Conor Cullen of Alcohol Action Ireland pointed out the established links between alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression and told the BBC: "Almost one in three crash deaths in Ireland is alcohol-related. Even in small amounts, alcohol impairs driving ability - any amount of alcohol increases the risk of involvement in a fatal crash."
Wonder how many depressions will be brought on to those who cannot get out the way of drink drivers.
I have seen some lunacy in my life but this takes the biscuit. Why would anyone come up with this moronic idea.
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Ireland may allow “moderately” drunk driving A controversial new proposal would let rural residents drive after "two or three drinks"
BY CHRISANNE GRISE, THE FIX
Is isolation more dangerous than drunk driving? This is the logic behind a a controversial new law in Ireland that would permit “moderately” drunk driving. If a new measure passed yesterday in Kerry county is approved by the Department of Justice, residents who have had “two or three drinks” will be permitted to drive in rural areas. Councillor Danny Healy-Rae, who introduced the motion, says he is concerned about older rural residents who are “being isolated now at home, and a lot of them falling into depression.” The lack of public transportation makes it difficult for these people to visit the pub. “In rural parishes, that’s well we have—we don’t have anything else,” says Healy-Rae. “All they want to do [here] is talk to neighbors, talk to friends, play cards, talk about the match and the price of cattle, about such a lady going out with such a fella, and it’s harmless.” He adds that extreme isolation even drives many older people to suicide. “I see the merit in having a stricter rule of law for when there’s a massive volume of traffic and where there’s busy roads with massive speed,” he says. “But on the roads I’m talking about, you couldn’t do any more than 20 or 30 miles per hour and it’s not a big deal.”
Many others, including mayor of Kerry, Terry O’Brien, are dead against the measure. ”[Drunk driving] is incredibly dangerous,” he says. “I don’t know how anybody can be allowed to say: ‘You’ve had two pints, so you’re justified to drive’.” Alcohol Action Ireland rep Conor Cullen agrees: “Almost one in three crash deaths in Ireland is alcohol-related. Even in small amounts, alcohol impairs driving ability—any amount of alcohol increases the risk of involvement in a fatal crash.” In response to Healy-Rae’s argument about the link between suicide and isolation, Cullen counters that alcohol consumption is more likely to contribute to suicide and other health dangers. “It should be noted that the link between alcohol use and suicide has been well established and drinking alcohol will exacerbate not alleviate any mental health difficulties that a person may be struggling with, such as depression or anxiety,” he says. “Those in rural areas who may be suffering from isolation will not benefit from putting their lives and the lives of the other members of their community at risk by drinking and driving.” Cullen notes that Ireland’s anti-drunk-driving measures, which include lowered alcohol limits and driving checkpoints, have decreased road deaths by 42% in the last four years. The country’s current general blood-alcohol limit is .05%, compared to .08% in the US.
A moderate drunk will be allowed on the roads!
Edited by kenworthy, 23 January 2013 - 11:44 am.