Target: Councilors of County Kerry, Ireland, specifically Councilor Healy-Rae who proposed the motion to grant permits that allow individuals to drive after drinking alcohol.
Goal: To stop the motion that would grant residents to ability to legally drive after consuming alcohol.
Councilors in rural southwest Ireland have recently passed a motion to give police the ability to grant permits that would allow residents of County Kerry to legally drive after consuming alcohol. Councilor Danny Healy-Rae claims he proposed the motion in order to help ‘older’ individuals who are living in isolation and may be depressed. He states that allowing certain people to drive after drinking is ‘not a big deal,’ yet he waited until the end of a ‘long meeting’ to propose a vote on the motion while 12 councilors were absent. In addition, those that voted in favor of the motion are reportedly pub owners. Not only is this motion irrational, but it is a danger to public safety and a health threat to residents of Kerry, Ireland.
Healy-Rae claims that the current drunk driving laws are forcing the older population of Kerry County to stay home because of a lack of public transportation. Instead of addressing this issue—which is also most likely affecting other areas of residents’ work and social lives—Healy-Rae would rather allow people to drive home intoxicated after spending money at his fellow councilors’ businesses. He could have proposed a motion that would fund a public taxi or bussing service that would enable isolated residents to safely travel to and from the pubs and other places. Healy-Rae also claims that the isolation of older people is robbing younger generations from their ‘wisdom’ and ‘culture,’ which could have been better addressed by a proposal to organize an outreach program that fosters relationships between the old and young.
Not only does the motion ignore these social issues, but it also neglects the rates of traffic fatalities related to drunk driving as well as the link between alcohol consumption and depression. Conor Cullen of Alcohol Action Ireland states that the stricter drunk driving laws have helped decrease fatalities by 42 percent in the last 4 years, and that alcohol consumption actually makes mental health problems worse. Tell Danny Healy-Rae and his fellow councilors to prevent this motion from coming to fruition.
Dear Councilor Healy-Rae and Councilors of County Kerry,
The recent motion to grant certain residents of Kerry the ability to drive after drinking alcohol is not only unreasonable, but it is also a danger to public safety and fails to positively address issues of isolation and depression. Instead, it will legally allow people to drive home intoxicated after spending money at the pubs (some of which are reportedly owned by several of your councilors).
Mr. Healy-Rae has claimed that the current drunk driving laws are forcing the older population of Kerry County to stay home because of a lack of public transportation. Certainly the unavailability of public transportation is also affecting other areas of your residents’ lives, such as traveling to work and maintaining social ties. Why not propose a motion to establish a public taxi or bussing service that would safely transport people to and from the pubs? Mr. Healy-Rae has stated that younger generations are being robbed of the wisdom and culture of older people. Wouldn’t establishing an outreach program that brings together the old and young be a much more positive—and safer—solution?
Ireland’s stricter drinking and driving laws have helped reduce traffic fatalities by 42 percent in the last four years. Allowing people to drive after drinking—even in moderation—would put their own lives and the lives of others at risk. Furthermore, encouraging people who are isolated and depressed to drink alcohol could seriously exacerbate the issues. Simply put, neither alcohol nor drinking and driving is the cure. We demand that you protect the lives of your residents by stopping this motion.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Graham Horn via Geograph Ireland