Drink-driving bill passed by the Dáil despite Danny Healy-Rae's opposition
"This is a sad day for rural Ireland."
Shane Ross's Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017 – a controversial piece of legislation which has been delayed for a number of months – has passed the Dáil.
The bill looks set to provide automatic disqualification from driving in the case of a person paying a fixed charge in respect of a drink driving offence.
The new proposed blood alcohol limit is 50mg/100ml.
After several months of filibustering and heated debate, TDs accepted the bill by 75 votes to eight.
“This is a sad day for rural Ireland,” Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae shouted after the vote was declared. Healy-Rae has been staunch in his pleas for the bill not to be debated, with the Kerry TD previously claiming that eating a big meal brings upon the same effect as driving over the limit.
He has also claimed that having up to a pint-and-a-half before sitting behind the wheel of a car would not cause an accident.
Healy-Rae has been criticised for comments made about drink-driving in the past, having said that "nobody in my neck of the woods has caused a fatality after three glasses of Guinness".
It is understood that his beliefs about the issue stem from the lack of infrastructure in rural Ireland, resulting in local pub owners losing business due to the new laws.
The bill was passed by the Dáil and now is set to be debated by the Seanad.