Irish Town Passes Motion to Allow Drinking and Driving

Motion calls for allowing people to “to drive home from their nearest pub after having two or three drinks on little-used roads driving at very low speeds.”

By Patrick Hickey Jr.
|  Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013  |  Updated 2:28 PM EDT
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Some local politicians are still shocked that the motion was passed.

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The Irish town of Kilgarvan passed a motion this winter calling for some members of its community to be allowed to drink and drive.

Proposed by local pub owner and politician Danny Healy-Rae, the motion calls for the minister of justice to allow police to decide whether to "issue permits" for people who live in country areas to be able to have two or three drinks before they drive home, The New York Times reported. Healy-Rae told the Times he thinks the measure will help preserve pub culture, lower the risk of suicide and attack isolation in the small town.

The Huffington Post noted at the time that Irish road and alcohol safety organizations slammed the proposed plan, while Ireland has strict laws and to combat drunk driving and has stepped up enforcement efforts.

Amid governmental and local backlash to the Kilgarvan measure, Healy-Rae says it isn’t supposed to apply to everyone, mainly "elderly people who live in very remote places."

"What is the alternative for them where no public or other transport is available? Staying at home lonely, staring at the four walls?” Healy-Rae told The Times.

Some local politicians are still shocked that the motion was passed, including one Kerry County council member who was absent when it passed because her child was sick, according to the Times.

Editor's Note:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the town passed a new law that allows drinking and driving in some cases. The town's local council passed a motion calling for the minister of justice to allow police to decide whether to "issue permits" to allow people in isolated areas to drive home from the nearest pub after drinking, given certain restrictions.

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