Charity criticises Healy-Rae motion

Wed, Jan 23, 2013, 00:00

An alcohol awareness charity has criticised a Kerry councillor’s call to allow rural drivers have two or three drinks before driving home, while an organisation representing vintners said it hoped the proposal started a conversation on the issues facing rural Ireland.

A motion tabled by Danny Healy-Rae (Ind) at yesterday’s meeting of Kerry County Council called for special derogation from the alcohol limit for rural drivers, including those of small tractors.

The motion was passed by five votes to three. Seven councillors abstained and 12 were not present.

Conor Cullen, communications officer with Alcohol Action Ireland, said that even in small amounts, alcohol impaired driving ability.

Alcohol impairment

“Almost one in three crash deaths in Ireland is alcohol-related,” he said. “Even in small amounts, alcohol impairs driving ability – any amount of alcohol increases the risk of involvement in a fatal crash.

Mr Healy-Rae said strict drink-driving laws were leading to isolation and in some cases, were a factor in suicide.

Pádraig Cribben, chief executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, said he hoped Mr Healy-Rae’s proposal started a conversation on issues facing rural Ireland.

“Successive governments have failed to recognise the plight of people living in rural communities,” he said.