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Rural County In Ireland Approves A Motion To Allow People To Drink And Drive
January 22, 2013
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In this day and age, it's hard to believe something like this.

Politicians in a small county in Ireland have approved a motion to allow people in rural areas to drink and drive, after having "two or three drinks."

The motion was passed by Kerry county council in south-west Ireland by five votes to three. 12 councillors were absent for the vote, while 7 others abstained.

The idea was put forward by independent councillor Danny Healy-Rae, who owns a pub in the county.

He said people in rural areas are "travelling in very minor roads, often on tractors, with very little traffic and it's not right they're being treated the same as the rest of the travelling public and they have never killed anyone."

Healy-Rae has also suggested the proposal would help lonely people to get out and socialize, instead of "looking at four walls".

"The only outlet they have then is to take home a bottle of whiskey and they're falling into depression, and suicide for some of them is the sad way out," he said.

The head of Ireland's Road Safety Authority criticized the proposal, saying it essentially brings Ireland back to the dark ages.

Noel Brett said there's doubt that alcohol impairs driving - study after study has proved it, he said.

"On that basis it is unthinkable that we would go back to a system that sought to increase our drink-drive limit," Brett said.

"We have made substantial progress in Ireland in reducing deaths and injuries on our roads, particularly in rural areas which are hardest hit by road fatalities and injuries."

"I think we need to proceed with that and continue with the life-saving policies that we have in place," he said.

"That is what is saving lives and proposals such as this bring us back to a much darker day."

Another councillor Gillian Wharton-Slattery said she didn't want anything to do with the proposal.

"Depression causes suicide. It's not caused by not being able to go to the pub," she told Healy-Rae. "There's more things to do in Kilgarvan than go into your pub."

The council will now ask Ireland's Justice Minister to issue licences so people can drive home from their nearest pub "after having two or three drinks on little-used roads driving at very low speeds".

Ireland's Transport Department appears to be already dismissing the idea.

"Unfortunately, rural areas are among the most dangerous roads in Ireland," a spokesperson said.

"We need to be looking at how to make our roads safer, particularly in rural areas, instead of trying to reverse existing measures which are clearly working."

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