Irish County support pro drink driving motion

If losing your driving licence for drink driving wasn't gloomy enough in a big city, imagine if you lived in the middle of nowhere. For people living in remote rural areas being banned from driving means more than just a hassle, it means no social interaction and consequently isolation and depression.

Danny Healy-Rae, an indipendent coucillor in Kerry, south-west Ireland, has claimed that the consequences of drink driving were more severe and felt in the countryside than in major towns, which are well served with public transports, and that isolation and depression caused the most number of suicides in those distant areas. He also stated that people travelling on minor roads were less likely to have accidents or kill someone because under the influence.

So, on Monday Kerry County council voted to support a motion allowing people living in remote countryside areas to have a few drinks and drive. Healy-Rae, also a pub owner, has blamed stricter drink-drive rules for the loss of social outing – and maybe even of some dosh due to lack of business - around his county. He added that going out for a social drink would prevent isolation-related mental illness.

"The only outlet they have then is to take home a bottle of whiskey and they're falling into depression, and suicide for some of them is the sad way out," the councillor added. Not everyone is backing Danny Healy-Rae pro drink-drive motion, though. Kerry County Labour councillor Gillian Wharton-Slattery said: "Depression causes suicide. It's not caused by not being able to go to the pub. There's more things to do in Kilgarvan than go into your pub."

Noel Brett, the head of Ireland's Road Safety Authority, also criticised the councillor, as from recent evidence emerged that rural areas have been the most affected by serious and even fatal road accidents, most of which were alcohol related.

It's true that socialising and going out help people feeling cheery, but maybe Healy-Rae should remember that there's a strong link between depression and alcohol abuse, and sometimes having two or three drinks each night with friends is not enough to prevent mental illness.

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