Nearly 80% of people against easing of drink driving laws in rural areas according to Leinster Express poll

Many people on social media angry at the suggestion of relaxation of rules

By Conor Ganly

Reporter:

By Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

The Scene of  crash near Portarlington .

The scene of the crash which claimed the life of Ciarán Treacy at Ballymorris, Portlarlington.

More than three quarters of people who voted in a Leinster Express poll on drink driving are against relaxed laws for rural areas.

While the sample size was small, 77% of those who voted in our online poll said no when asked the question: "Do you think drink-driving laws should be relaxed in rural areas of the country?". Just under a  quarter agreed that the laws should be eased.

There was a big response to the question on social media with more than 5,000 people reached on Facebook. Of the many people who commented, all felt that the rules should not be eased.

"There should be no limit. If you are going to drink you don't drive. End of!!," posted Jane Walsh. 

"No, a drunk driver is a drunk driver regardless of rural or urban location," posted Caroline Dunlea. 

Jenny Weight posted: "If you can afford to go out drinking you can afford the taxi home. Maybe publicans should have to provide transport in rural areas for a small fee a mini bus could do a run after closing it's the least they could do. To my knowledge most if the drink driving fatalities are in rural not urban areas".

It emerged this week that a doubling in drunk driving checkpoints in Laois has led to a sharp increase in the number of people caught driving over the limit in Laois.

Portlaoise-based Garda Superintendent Joe Prendergast revealed that there were 47 drink driving offences  detected in the last quarter of 2016, as compared to 36 for the last three months of 2015—a 30% rise.

“There’s a very good chance if you are drinking and driving you are going to be caught,” he warned at the Laois Joint Policing Committee meeting in Portlaoise.

He said Gardai in Laois had manned 524 checkpoints in 2016. The number in 2015 was 276,

The Minister for Transport Shane Ross announced in recent days that he will bring legislative proposals to Cabinet for all drivers convicted of drink-driving to receive a mandatory disqualification from driving.

"Drivers under 44 accounted for 70% of intoxicated drivers in 2015 with 81% of all intoxicated drivers being male. We have not solved that problem," he told a Dáil committee.

Laois was the location for one of the most tragic deaths caused by drink driving in recent years. Ciarán Treacy, from Portarlington, was aged just 5 when he was killed on April 17 2014 as a result of drink driver.