Kerry County Council plan to write to the government seeking permits that will allow rural people to have ‘two or three drinks’ and then drive home.
A heated debate occurred at the Kerry County Council yesterday evening when a motion tabled by the Independent Councillor Danny Healy-Rae - you’ve probably heard of his father, Jackie - was passed by five votes to three. The motion will now see Kerry County Council writing to Justice Minister Alan Shatter seeking permits that will allow rural people to drive home from the pub. Seriously, we’re not joking.
According to the councillor, the drink-drive permit would allow people to drive home after “two or three pints” on the condition that they drive at low speeds and use minor roads. Healy-Rae also said his plans would see the Gardaí issuing the permits as they see fit – so not every Tom, Dick or Harry would get one.
But why would Healy-Rae want to introduce a drink-drive permit system when we all know alcohol is one of the main causes of road fatalities? Well, Healy-Rae wants to tackle rural isolation.
Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Healy-Rae said: "I'm not asking to break the law. What I'm asking is that a different law be implemented to cater for these kind of people ... Two or three drinks would be the amount.
"I don't want to cause any deaths. What I'm trying to do is prevent deaths because it has been known, and it has been mentioned by our coroner, that suicide is becoming an ever-increasing problem.
"While I'm not saying that this is the cause of all the suicides, we must start somewhere and prevent everyone that we can."
It’s worth mentioning that Healy-Rae and three other councillors who supported the motion - Michael O’Shea (FF), Michael Cahill (Ind) and Bobby O’Connell (FG) - are publicans.
So what do you think? Is this the best way to combat rural isolation? Let us know.