Irish County Lets Some Drive Drunker?

ABC News
This photo taken on Dec. 7, 2012 shows a glass of beer being drawn from one of 16 taps at the Great Divide Brewery in Denver. A short walk from the 16th Street Mall: a sample of makers of beloved, homegrown Colorado craft beer. Wynkoop Brewing Co., co-founded by Gov. John Hickenlooper, and Great Divide Brewing Co. offer free tours of their downtown operations. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
.

View photo

This photo taken on Dec. 7, 2012 shows a glass of beer being drawn from one of 16 taps at the Great Divide …

The County Kerry Council in southwest Ireland passed a measure on Monday that allows rural drivers to legally drive while under the influence of alcohol.

The council voted 5-3 - with 12 absent and seven abstaining - to issue special permits to individuals who live in rural areas and wish to drive home on remote countryside roads after consuming two to three alcoholic beverages. The council will have to rely on Justice Minister Alan Shatter to implement the changes to current drinking and driving laws by issuing special permits.

Councilor and County Kerry pub owner Danny Healy-Rae introduced the bill, arguing that citizens driving while intoxicated in rural areas have never killed anyone. He defended the measure by asserting that it would prevent loneliness and reduce the risk of suicides among those who live in Ireland's backcountry.

"A lot of these people are living in isolated rural areas where there's no public transport of any kind, and they end up at home looking at the four walls, night in and night out, because they don't want to take the risk of losing their license," Healy-Rae told TheJournal.ie.

Tougher drunk driving laws have been credited with reducing the number of people killed on Irish roads. The overall number of road deaths has fallen by 56 percent in the last five years and in 2012, 161 people were killed, the lowest since records were kept, according to the Road Safety Authority. In addition to lowering the legal limit from 80 mg per 100 ml of blood (.08 percent in U.S. terms) to 50 mg, Irish authorities have also increased the volume of mandatory alcohol checkpoints.

The Irish Department of Transport, Alcohol Action Ireland and the Road Safety Authority have all voiced opposition to the proposal, citing the overwhelming evidence linking alcohol consumption with impaired driving.

"Unfortunately, rural areas are among the most dangerous roads in Ireland. We need to be looking at how to make our roads safer, particularly in rural areas, instead of trying to reverse existing measures, which are clearly working," an Irish Department of Transport spokesman told Sky News.

View Comments (1607)

Recommended for You

  • 2 Trains Collide in Germany, 10 Dead, at Least 100 Injured

    Two morning commuter trains have collided in Bad Aibling in southern Germany, raising the death toll to 10 people and injuring more than 100 others, police said.The train manufacturer, Meridian, released a statement in German, saying two trains collided just after 7 a.m. today local time. One…

    Good Morning America14 mins ago
  • Baby Sloth Flies in Private Jet to New Home at National Aviary in Pittsburgh

    A baby sloth was recently flown on a private jet from a breeder in Florida to his new home at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The 3-month-old Linnaeus sloth "enjoyed the flight very much," National Aviary marketing coordinator Laura Smith told ABC News today. The tiny sloth,…

    Good Morning America21 mins ago
  • Slain Virginia Teen Discussed 'Her Boyfriend' Before Abduction, Friend Says

    A friend of the 13-year-old Virginia girl who was allegedly abducted and murdered last month said the teen had told her about an older "boyfriend" before she went missing. Nicole Lovell, 13, was found dead four days after going missing in late-January and Virginia Tech students David Eisenhauer,…

    Good Morning America32 mins ago
  • Husband Settles Bed-Hogging Debate With Laser Down the Middle

    If your significant other hogs the bed, this man has a solution: Set up a laser down the middle.Jon Nagel, of Dallas, Texas, posted this hilarious photo to Reddit where it’s now going viral with nearly 1 million views. The caption reads, “In our house there is no debate, ONLY DATA.”He said he…

    Good Morning America55 mins ago
  • Brie Larson Hasn't Seen or Spoken to Her Dad in 10 Years

    Brie Larson is up for an Oscar for her emotionally-wrenching performance of a woman held captive in a garden shed for seven years in the film "Room."Some of the inspiration for her performance, the 26-year-old actress told Elle in a new interview, comes from her own life and difficult childhood.…

    Good Morning America57 mins ago
  • Zika Virus Outbreak Updates: Florida Expands State of Emergency to 7th County

    As the Zika virus outbreak continues, including in wide swaths of Central and South America, concerns are growing, especially for pregnant women, because the mosquito-borne virus has been linked with a serious birth defect called microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and brain. …

    Good Morning America59 mins ago
  • Incredible Footage Shows Pedestrian Tripping Suspect as He's Running From Police

    Officers were on patrol in Kingston, United Kingdom, on Saturday when they were made aware of a report of two males dealing drugs, police said in a statement. The officers chased one of the suspects through the town center "when they received some unexpected assistance from a member of the…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Serial' Convict Adnan Syed's Hearing Wrapping Up

    Lawyers trying to get a new trial for Adnan Syed, the convicted killer at the center of hit podcast “Serial,” and the state attorneys who are hoping to keep him behind bars are making their closing arguments today after resting their respective cases in Syed's bid for a retrial. Syed’s lawyers --…

    Good Morning America
  • Behind the Scenes of ‘Fresh Off the Boat’

    Yang, together with 11-year-old Forrest Wheeler, who plays Emery, and Ian Chen, 9, as Evan, had to get up to speed on the pop culture of the mid-1990s, when the sitcom is set. "I probably had to learn, a lot, too, like, about the rap music, about the culture," Yang said. ABC News’ Chris Connelly…

    Good Morning America
  • Jeb Bush's Fall (or Maybe Rise)

    On the eve of today’s New Hampshire presidential primary, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush finished his day at the Frank Jones Center on the seacoast, the same locale where another unlikely GOP contender, John McCain, once hosted his final town hall in a state that he ultimately won eight…

    Good Morning America
  • Officers Give Basketball Hoop to Neighborhood Kids Playing Without Backboard

    Three Ohio police officers gave a big assist Friday night when they gave neighborhood children a new basketball hoop. "This was something that was basically from their hearts," Chief Jim Toles of the Lockland Police Department in Lockland, Ohio, told ABC News. Toles said that Officers Drew Jones,…

    Good Morning America
  • Teresa Giudice Reveals Why She Doesn't Blame Her Husband for Her Prison Term

    In her first live TV interview since being released from prison, Teresa Giudice said she does not blame her husband, Joe Giudice, for the couple’s legal troubles. “No, I don’t,” Giudice, 42, said today on “Good Morning America” when asked if she held Joe responsible. The “Real Housewives of New…

    Good Morning America
  • Zika Virus Outbreak: Consumer Reports Shares Best Zika-Fighting Repellents

    With concern surrounding the Zika virus at an all-time high, Consumer Reports has re-released its exclusive ratings of mosquito repellents that best protect against the mosquitoes that spread the virus. Officials Monday announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emergency…

    Good Morning America
  • UCLA Gymnast's Floor Routine Goes Viral With Dab, Nae Nae Moves

    One gymnast is tumbling into Facebook glory with more than 22 million views on her epic hip-hop-themed floor routine.Sophina DeJesus, a senior at UCLA, nailed her floor routine versus Utah with moves that would make even Beyoncé proud. She struts, she dabs and she Nae Naes in her shiny silver and…

    Good Morning America
  • Marco Rubio Believes He Must Be ‘Doing Something Right’

    Sen. Marco Rubio today brushed off recent attacks by his GOP rivals, saying he must be "doing something right," and expressing confidence despite what he called the "unusual set up" in today’s New Hampshire primary. Despite Christie's attacks, Rubio believes he had "a very strong debate," and…

    Good Morning America
  • John Kasich’s New Hampshire Primary Day Prediction: ‘We’re Going to Finish Very Strong’

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich, whose campaign has maintained a laser-like focus on performing well in today’s New Hampshire primary, declined to predict exactly how he would place once all the votes are counted here, but sounded a note of confidence in an interview today on "Good Morning America.""We’re…

    Good Morning America
  • Hong Kong 'Fish Ball Revolution' Erupts in Violent Crackdown

    Violent clashes erupted overnight in Hong Kong after protesters defended unlicensed food vendors, set up for Chinese New Year celebrations, from being shut down by police. The group said on its official Facebook page that its candidate for local council, Edward Leung Tin-kei, had been arrested.

    Good Morning America