Legal Drinking And Driving In Ireland


The County Council in Kerry, Ireland, has backed a measure to allow drivers to operate their vehicles under the influence. The proposals will allow drivers in rural areas to have two or three pints (32-48 oz.) and then drive home.

The current maximum blood-alcohol level is 50mg per 100ml of blood for most drivers and 20mg for learner and professional drivers. Although it varies depending on driver, this is roughly equivalent to less than one pint of beer.

It might not surprise you that the Councilor who first purposed these changes is a pub owner. He believes that people in rural areas need to be treated differently from residents in urban surroundings.

“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,” claims Councilor and bill-sponsor, Danny Healy-Rae. “And they have never killed anyone.”

He also believes that Ireland’s tough Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) laws leave people in rural areas drinking inside their own homes, “looking at four walls”. The Councilor claims this can lead to depression and suicide, especially in the elderly.

Therefore, the Kerry Country Council voted five to three— with 19 abstaining — to formally ask the nation’s justice minister for permission for rural folks to drive home after drinking a couple of drinks.

The true risk here is that two or three pints may easily become four or five.


About Author

Denis Foynes

Denis Foynes was born in New York City to Irish parents in 1991. When he was 8, his family returned to Celtic Tiger Ireland. Denis has an International Politics degree from Aberystwyth University in Wales. After completing university, he decided to leave crisis Ireland and relocate to Panama.