- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not to advance stereotypes about the Irish and alcohol — but the Kerry County governing body just approved a measure seeking permission for drivers to legally operate a vehicle under the influence.

Kerry council members backed a resolution allowing rural residents the ability to down “two or three” pints at local pubs and then drive home, absent fear of arrest, according to a report from The Guardian. That the council member who introduced the measure is a pub owner — that’s just pure coincidence. He says his concern was for the elderly.

“They’re traveling 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 traveling public,” bill sponsor and pub owner Danny Healy-Rae reportedly said. “And,” he added, “they have never killed anyone.”

Mr. Healy-Rae also blamed Ireland’s tough drinking-while-driving laws on degrading the mental health of the elderly. When they drink, they have to stay home “looking at four walls,” and that leads to depression and suicide, he reportedly said.

The council voted 5-3 — with 19 abstaining — to formally ask the nation’s justice minister for permission for rural folks to drive home after drinking a couple of brews, so long as they stay on back roads.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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