The Kerry county council in Ireland has approved a measure that would allow for the creation of drink-drive permits, allowing motorists to drive in rural areas if they have had “two or three drinks.”
The Guardian reports the measure was brought to the council by a local government official, Danny Healy-Rae, who claims allowing such activity would help combat depression and suicide in the area.
Healy-Rae, who conveniently owns a pub in the county, claims the move will help lonely people who have been without a social outlet since stricter drinking and driving laws were enacted. He also insists, “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.”
The proposal was approved with a 5 to 3 vote, yet many county officials have distanced themselves from the measure. Gillian Wharton-Slattery, the Irish Labour councillor, astutely points out, “Depression causes suicide. It’s not caused by not being able to go to the pub.”
What do you think? Is this a dumb move by the Kerry county council?