Danny Healy Rae slams transport ministers as "motoring terrorists" as tempers flare in heated Dáil debate
The Kerry TD was branded a “road traffic terrorist” by Transport Minister Shane Ross just last week in the Dáil.
Cabinet was brought to a dramatic standstill on Wednesday afternoon after Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae and Junior Transport Minister Brendan Griffin got into a fiery back-and-forth regarding new transportation suggested for isolated areas in rural Ireland.
The new buses, which have been dubbed ‘drink-links’ as they're set to be used by people going to the pub, aim to help rural people to have access to towns and villages across Ireland.
In the Dáil on Wednesday, Healy-Rae was criticised by Griffin, a fellow Kerry man, for opposing the planned roll out of the dedicated rural transport link.
In response to this, Healy-Rae called Griffin (and, presumably Minister for Transport, Shane Ross) "motoring terrorists", a term which brought silence to Cabinet.
"We're not going to play the Kerry game here," said Pat the Cope Gallagher, the Fianna Fáil TD who has served as Leas-Cheann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann since July 2016, almost kicking off the row between the two Kerry men once more.
Just last week, Healy-Rae sought legal advice after being branded a “road traffic terrorist” by Transport Minister Shane Ross.
The claim was made after Ross criticised the Kerry TD for opposing the introduction of new drink driving laws which will include the prosecution of first-time offenders.
The Kerry TD has been outspoken in his opposition to Ross' proposals to introduce automatic bans for motorists caught driving under the influence.
The 'drink-link' service is another of Minister Ross' proposals, a move that will add 188 extra trips a week to the country's rural transport network, serving functions like bingo and trips to local pubs.
It's hoped that the introduction of such a service will bring down the number of drink-drivers on Irish roads.
19 counties are included in the trial, among them Kerry, Cork, Donegal, Kildare, Wicklow, Louth, Waterford, Cavan, Monaghan, Offaly and Laois.
The move will cost the government €450,000 over the six-month trial period and most of the services will run from 6pm to 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.