ALCOHOL LIMITS NEED RETHINK
Plans to reduce the drink-driving limit left many Fianna Fail TDs in need of ‘a drop’ after what was described as a very heated parliamentary party meeting this week. Transport Minister Noel Dempsey unveiled his plans to reduce the limits from 80mg to 50mg which, would mean that drivers would be over the limit after one pint of beer or one glass of wine, to the assembled party TDs in Leinster House this week.
Immediately the minister faced a barrage of protests as he attempted to sell the measures at the stormy meeting, which was described as ‘hot and heavy’ by one TD present.
“We need a big rethink here. The minister must now reflect on what has happened. His presentation to the meeting lacked scientific evidence for his claims,” Tipperary South Deputy Mattie McGrath told The Avondhu.
Deputy McGrath also feels that this measure will further aggravate people living in rural Ireland.
Speaking as one of the 28 Fianna Fail deputies who are opposed to the proposal Deputy McGrath said, “We feel there’s no demand for it and we feel there’s no scientific evidence for it. We are creating an issue out of nothing.”
Taoiseach Brian Cowen who was present at the meeting was one of only a few TDs who supported the proposal and called on both sides to “reflect” on the arguments. The legislation is due to be published next week and then fast-tracked through the Oireachtas.
However, many of the deputies present feel that a cut in drink drive limits will impact badly in rural communities and damage the party’s popularity further as it braces itself for the backlash against what is expected to be a savage December budget. Deputy Sean Sherlock TD (Lab) feels that more research needs to be done in this area and is fearful that the new legislation will affect people as they travel to work the day after they may have been drinking.
“Everyone is different in terms of how they metabolise what they eat or drink. My concern would be that people who may have drank moderately the night before they go to work or Mass would be punished the following morning by being above the new proposed limit even though they behaved appropriately. I hope that common sense will apply,” Deputy Sherlock told The Avondhu.
Speaking to The Avondhu from his pub in Burncourt Willie Mulcahy fears for the future of the rural way of life.
“This proposal will do an awful lot of damage to rural Ireland. It will have a great affect on people who live alone and use the pub to socialize and meet up with their neighbours. If this legislation is brought in I can see the end for a lot of rural pubs in Ireland.”
An RTE Prime Time special will debate the proposal this Thursday night and Willie Mulcahy’s pub in Burncourt will be featured.
Thursday 22nd October 7:07pm