An Irish friend of mine told me about this story out of Ireland where they apparently are trying to legalize drunk driving. I sort of rolled my eyes at this since she was drinking at the time. But it’s true. Apparently, Kerry, a small town in Southwest Ireland, passed a measure saying pretty much that. The actual law is far more weird. At least it is according to the Guardian UK, the Huffington Post, ABC News, and all of the other news site I checked. I seriously still think it can’t be real. According to the Journal, i.e. (number one news source for all Southwest Irish news says a study I just made up)
The motion put forward by councillor Danny Healy-Rae calls on the Minister for Justice to allow Gardaí to issue permits to people in the most isolated parts of the country to allow them to drive after drinking some alcohol.
What the Journal curiously neglected to mention was Mr. Danny Healy-Rae also owns a pub in Kerry Ireland. But don’t let his potential financial windfall with this particular law make you think the Mr. Healy-Rae isn’t a sober (had to) arbiter for the laws and safety in his community. I’ll let his own words do that. Here’s Mr. Healy Rae on the merits of said law change.
“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 and it’s not a big deal. I don’t see any big issue with it.”
I see. So as long as it’s not a busy road. Well, as everyone knows, inebriated people are great at decision-making. So the fact that one should only drive 20-30 mph in these sparsely populated areas of course means that any person coming out of your pub drunk and stumble-bum would wisely choose to go the appropriate speed. To say nothing of all the potential people coming to and leaving from that particular pub. You know like all of the other patrons, bartenders, waitresses, etc…. Maybe you’re vacationing in Ireland and just wanted to take a nice drive at night. Sucks to be you I guess. But Mr. Healy-Rae was just getting warmed up.
Another great reason for this law has to do with the older generation. For you see, current drinking and driving laws were forcing these poor souls to ostracize themselves.
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 fleshed out the horrors of old people not being able to drink and drive even more gravely to The Guardian UK.
“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
I’m going to skip the joke about the Irish pub owner fighting the horrors of depression by way of whiskey. Moving right along. He actually wants old people, universally known for their quick reaction times and their ability hold their liquor, to be licensed to drink and drive. What could possibly go wrong? Not sure what the testing procedure would be for that licensure. But I do know where I won’t be vacationing this summer. Which is a shame since Ireland has made great strides in recent years in preventing road fatalities. It’s down 56% according to the Road Safety Authority. Most of that positively correlated to better enforcement like lowering the legal limit and increased frequency of sobriety checkpoints. To which Mr. Healy-Rae responds #YOLO
Continuing his quest to become the perfect Irish stereotype, Mr. Healy-Rae was also quoted as saying “The pub is invariably the only social outlet left in rural Ireland and they’re getting scarce now – just one or two in every village,” according the Journal. And ABC News has him quoted saying drinking and driving in rural areas “never killed anyone.” These last two actually strike me as a cries for help. One or two pubs in Greenwich Village would be a sad. However, thinking that one or two pubs in an actual rural village isn’t enough means that you’re sad Danny. And as for drinking and driving never killing anyone in a rural area, WOW!
Another interesting tidbit from the story were the vote tallies. Only eight people out a possible 27 actually voted. It was 5 for and only 3 against. Shouldn’t there be more than three people with any common sense on such a committee? Jesus! But 12 were absent (possibly still at the permanent keg-stand that is Kerry Ireland) and 7 abstained (sleeping off hangovers?).
Listen, if you want to drink till your liver is as hard as adamantium, God bless. But let’s not license people to drive after a long night at a bar where everybody knows your name. OK Ireland? Cheers!