- The Washington Times - Monday, March 25, 2013

The rural Irish town of Kilgarvan has passed a resolution to permit locals to drink and drive.

Local pub owner and politician Danny Healy-Rae initially proposed the bill to the local council, telling The New York Times the bill could preserve pub culture, lower suicide rates and reduce a sense of isolation among the elderly.

“I am talking about mainly elderly people who live in very remote places who come to town to get a bit of shopping, enjoy a couple of pints and a chat with friends and then drive home at less than 30 miles an hour,” Mr. Healy-Rae told The Times. “These are not the ones causing accidents. What is the alternative for them where no public or other transport is available? Staying at home lonely, staring at the four walls?”

The Healy-Rae family pub has gained international attention — some good, some bad — for being behind the measure.

Kerry County Council member Toireasa Ferris was absent during the vote and couldn’t believe it when she heard the bill had passed.

“Never in my wildest imaginations did I think it would ever be passed,” she told The New York Times. “This is not the way to address this problem. Some in an older generation who were used to having a few pints and driving home may still think it acceptable, and they may be lost to us. But we have to break the link between socializing and drinking for the generations following.”

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