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Irish council calls for drink-drive permits to combat depression

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Irish council calls for drink-drive permits to combat depression
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A council in Ireland has voted to back a motion allowing some people to drive while above the legal alcohol limit.

Kerry County Council will now ask Justice Minister Alan Shatter to approve the creation of a permit that will allow rural drinkers to drive after having “two or three drinks”.

The controversial motion was put forward by Independent Councillor Danny Healy-Rae who claims it will help combat depression and suicide in the county, among people who have lost a social outlet due to stricter drink driving rules.

“There are many people locked in at home now in rural, isolated places who are looking at the four walls and they can’t get out because they can’t even have one drink,” he said. “They’re travelling in very minor roads, often on tractors, with very little traffic and it’s not right they’re being treated the same as the rest of the travelling public and they have never killed anyone.”

Incredibly dangerous

The motion has outraged many people in Kerry and across Ireland. Speaking to RTE Kerry Mayor Terry O’Brien said: “It is incredibly dangerous. I don’t know how anybody can be allowed to say ‘You’ve had two pints, so you’re justified to drive’.”

Others said the motion is to serve the interests of publicans. Three of the five councilors who supported the motion – including Healy-Rae himself – own pubs in County Kerry, and a fourth was Healy-Rae’s son.