|Location of Kilgarvan in Ireland|
But drinking and driving hasn’t been legal for decades, until now.
Nestled in the southeast corner of the island, council members representing 164 residents of the quaint rural village of Kilgarvan recently voted to legalize drunk driving.
Pub owner and Kerry County Council member Danny Healy-Rae introduced a bill “to issue permits to people living in rural isolated areas to allow them to drive home from their nearest pub after having two or three drinks on little-used roads driving at very low speeds.” Arguing staunchly for this measure, Mr. Healy-Rae proclaimed that citizens driving while intoxicated in rural areas have “never killed anyone” and by giving residents the ability to legally drive while under the influence of alcohol would “bring back a social outlet for lonely people in rural areas that had been lost after stricter drink-drive laws were introduced.” Mr. Healy-Rae also argues that rural isolation brings a certain socially reduced lifestyle. It can cause mental anguish such as severe depression that can lead to other problems, like suicide. The pubs provide the link to social interaction in a place where mobility is limited to the automobile.
|Socializing in any Pub in Ireland|
Upon the passing of the measure, many are up in arms. Toireasa Ferris, another Kerry County council member, who missed the vote due to being home with a sick child says the city, county and country is being looked upon as a “laughingstock” stating that “rural isolation is a serious issue, but she says it has been obscured by promoting drunken driving as part of the solution.”
“Rural areas are among the most dangerous roads in Ireland.” Rural roads typically have higher fatality rates due to the ability to attain higher speeds for longer periods of time, low traffic volumes and a lower chance of law enforcement to catch law breakers. This measure only reinforces the lack of seriousness associated with drinking and driving.
|Typical Country Road in Rural Ireland|
A pint goes to Mr. Max Scheideman for his assistance in editing this blog post.
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