Politicians who say it’s ok to have ‘one or two’ and drive condemned

It is very dangerous for them to be opposing road safety legislation - victims group

 Donna Price of the Irish Road Victims’ Association  said it is “a very, very dangerous precedent for our politicians to be opposing road safety legislation”. File  photograph: Alan Betson

Donna Price of the Irish Road Victims’ Association said it is “a very, very dangerous precedent for our politicians to be opposing road safety legislation”. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

Politicians who suggest it is acceptable to drive after one, two or three drinks are condoning drink driving, the head of a group advocating for greater road safety measures has said.

Donna Price, the founder and chairwoman of the Irish Road Victims’ Association, also said TDs who do not back Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s proposed drink driving law are setting a dangerous precedent.

She made her comments outside the Dáil to mark road safety week, which began on Monday.

Mr Ross’s Bill seeks to impose a mandatory three-month driving ban on anyone found to have 51-80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in their system. Currently, first-time offenders are banned only when the reading is above 80mg.

Ms Price said road safety legislation usually attracted cross-party support in the Dáil and claimed opposition to the new proposals would set a dangerous precedent.

She said the IRVA is “very disappointed” that some politicians are opposing the Bill, including the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party.

“We fully support Minister Ross and his legislation but our families are deeply upset with the position being taken by our public representatives,” she said. “Our family’s lives matter.”

Ms Price’s 18-year-old son Darren died in a car crash in March 2006. He was an inter-county footballer, who was on his way to college in Athlone when his car collided with an articulated lorry outside Tyrrellspass, Westmeath.

“We want to appeal to our politicians during this road safety week, as our public representatives, to back the legislation proposed by Minister Ross.

“It is a very, very dangerous precedent for our politicians to be opposing road safety legislation. In the past, this legislation has always been supported, has always had cross party support, so it is a very dangerous precedent and we would appeal to our public representatives to take the interests of their constituents to heart, to ignore the vested interests and to come out and publicly support the legislation.”

Earlier this year, Independent Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae said he had “never heard of anyone being killed or of a fatal accident because of three glasses”.

“I go into pubs as much as anyone else, but you have people who want to drink those three glasses of beer or Guinness, and it’s their only social outlet in rural Ireland,” Mr Healy Rae said.

“People in urban areas like Dublin have several different means of transport for getting home. The people I represent live three or four miles down a little road that they can only drive in second or third gear as the road determines the speed at which they must travel.”