County Kerry councillors have approved the motion for a request that people living in rural areas be allowed to drive “after two or three drinks”. The current blood-alcohol limit in Ireland is .05 (.02 for learner and professional drivers) which is less than a pint of beer.
Councillor Danny Healy-Rae proposed the motion after becoming concerned that some of his elderly constituents might become isolated in rural areas where the village pub is the only place to socialise – and public transport isn’t available at night.
Ireland’s blood-alcohol limits are credited with helping decrease road deaths by 42 per cent over the past four years, but Healy-Rae says he’s not suggesting a change that would risk a rise in the road toll.
“I see the merit in having a stricter rule of law for when there’s a massive volume of traffic and where there’s busy roads with massive speed. But on the roads I’m talking about, you couldn’t do any more than 20 or 30 miles per hour (up to 60km/h) and it’s not a big deal. I don’t see any big issue with it,” he told Irish news site The Journal.
“These people that are being isolated at present, all the wisdom and all the wit and all the culture that they had, the music and the singing, that’s all being lost to the younger generation because these older people might as well be living in Japan and Jerusalem because the younger generation don’t see them at all anymore. These characters are being isolated now at home, and a lot of them falling into depression,” he said.
Healy-Rae has called on the Irish Minister for Justice to consider the change.