Drink driving in Ireland

October 29th, 2009 | by Andrew Ó Baoill |

Fianna Fáil backbenchers have been predictably reactionary in their response to the proposal to reduce the drink driving limit in Ireland. However, there have been some interesting suggestions from the head of Macra na Feirme (the young farmers’ association), who has largely supported the change, while looking for policy changes that would address the circumstances that have led drink driving to be associated with rural areas:

Mr Gowing’s statement said “problems of rural isolation and drink driving are unfortunately being linked. We need to tackle rural isolation by the provision of better rural transport, keeping rural communities alive and by maintaining post offices and other essential services in communities.”

It also called on publicans to be much more proactive in facilitating rural people to socialise in a safe and cost-effective manner. This includes further promoting the provision of transport to and from pubs.

Mr Gowing suggested that a relief on VAT and excise on seven-seater vehicles for publicans should be considered.

There are fewer than 5,000 pubs outside Dublin, of which even fewer are in rural areas outside the reach of public transit. That would suggest that creating minimal transport options for those attending these pubs should not be a terribly expensive proposition. The tax relief idea, consisting of revenue foregone rather than actual outgoings, should be a relatively palatable suggestion.

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