Posted Jan 28th 2013 11:30AM
On one side you have Ireland's measures against drunk driving: a maximum allowable blood-alcohol level of .05 percent (In Ontario and the rest of Canada, the maximum legal BAC for fully licensed drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08). Driving with BAC in excess of 0.08 is a criminal offence.), and statistics like the lowered limit and checkpoints having "decreased road deaths by 42 per cent in the last four years." On the other side you have councillor Danny Healy-Rae of County Kerry who is worried about some of his elderly constituents being isolated in rural areas: Healy-Rae says that the pub is the only place to socialize in some villages, and without public transport and any way to get home after a few pints, some elder villagers end up staying home every night for fear of losing their licenses.
To address the issue, Healy-Rae has put forth a motion that would allow some Irish to drive after "two or three" drinks – with "some" being limited to certain people in certain out-of-the-way places. He is clear that he doesn't want this thought of as a blanket provision for the entire country, saying "on the roads I'm talking about, you couldn't do any more than 20 or 30 miles per hour (32 to 48 km/h) and it's not a big deal. I don't see any big issue with it."
The mayor of Kerry does have a big issue with it, questioning how someone can suggest that drinking and driving, by anyone for any reason, is acceptable. Alcohol Action Ireland also takes issue, its chief dousing Healy-Rae's arguments with "Those in rural areas who may be suffering from isolation will not benefit from putting their lives and the lives of the other members of their community at risk by drinking and driving." Healy-Rae's motion was passed in a local council meeting by a vote of five to three, and now he's asking Ireland's Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, to consider it.