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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: October 27, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

    Life in Four Bottles – or three if

    Harry McGee


    A friend send me on this Irish version of Shakespeare’s the Seven Ages of Man.

    The Mattie McGrath inspired Fianna Fail version could conceivably cut it back to three. You take a drink and when you sit behind the wheel you are relaxed – so relaxed in fact that you close your eyes and… Well, think of the savings to the Exchequer!


    The Fianna Fail backbench revolt is ludicrous, and sends out all kinds of signals about skewed and warped priorities.

    Most deaths on the road are associated with speed, a fair proportion of it arising from young men driving at breakneck speed on country roads at weekends. The RSA, the Garda Síochána and the Departmetn of Transport need to be far more visiblein cracking down on this.

    An elderly farmer driving home at 30mph after two pints does not pose, on the face of it, the same threat. But we need to be shown hard and fast statistics to back up this assertion, which is being made by Fianna Fail TDs.

    And if there are hard facts, then perhaps some discretion can be shown during an interregnum period.

    For drink driving culture is a generational thing. For anybody under 50, there should be no tolerance as they have spent all of their driving lives in a society where they know there has been a declining tolerance towards drink-driving.

    It all has to be based on evidence.

    And the evidence is that in the 1970s, over 700 people were being illed on Irish roads each year. Sure, the roads were much poorer, the safety design of cars was laughable, and speed was a more immediate threat, given the lack of wide roads with long straight stretches.

    But drink was also a major factor. And contributed to deaths. And still contributes to death.

    Fianna Fail TDS, to my mind, have chosen the wrong mutiny on the wrong grievance at the wrong time.

    • Mr.Fink says:

      Mattie McGrath – a tool amongst men.

    • Dan Sullivan says:

      Harry, no one appears to be able to explain why we are not focusing more on a more tailored and exponential rise in punishment for being hugely over the limit compared to being marginally over?

      Given that just as many people are killed while over the 240mg mark and 6 times as many are over the 160mg mark, why the concentration on the 50-80gm level? That would seem to be the real crux of the problem from the viewpoint of death and serious injury on the road but instead we’re targeting the 50-80mg segment. Why?

      Also, as regards the impairment argument that any amount of alcohol impairs your ability to concentrate on driving, that is true enough. But if we are then going to work on that basis then surely anything that impairs driving to any degree should be addressed including removing radios and such like from cars and banning people from driving if they are emotionally unfit to do so. Getting in a car after a row is a very bad idea as any number of walls and garage doors will tell you.

    • Eoin says:

      “…the wrong mutiny on the wrong grievance at the wrong time.”

      Since when has that ever stopped someone getting elected?

    • frank jameson says:

      Fianna Fail the rePUBLICAN Party

    • John Cooney says:

      There is a fifth option, a dumb-tit.
      Clearly Mattie’s Mam used to dip his dumb-tit in beer to calm him down and relax him when he was a kid, hence his panchant for confusion and thinking outside the box as he approaches second childhood

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