THE STORY OF how Kerry County Council voted for a plan to allow rural drivers to have ‘two or three drinks’ to combat rural isolation has, understandably, made a lot of headlines today.
But it hasn’t just been in Ireland: the story of the bizarre (and unenforceable) motion passed by the councillors has been picked up by newspapers and news websites around the world.
Predictably, some of the stories have focused on Irish attitudes to alcohol (one US journalist tweeted: “So Ireland is considering legalising drunk driving. Or as the Irish call it, ‘driving’”). A large number of them focused on rural isolation and the argument put forward by Councillor Danny Healy-Rae – who proposed the motion – that the strict rules around drinking and driving are adversely affecting older people and communities in parts of the country.
Here’s a round-up of how the story was covered.
At one stage this afternoon the story was the fourth most-read article on the BBC News website:
Gawker illustrated its article with an atypical image of a drink driver in rural Ireland:
The Huffington Post focused on the argument put forward by Healy-Rae and others that the permit system could help to stop depression among older house-bound people:
The Toronto Star began the article by asking “Where else but in Ireland, where the pub life is woven into the country’s cultural fabric, would this happen?’:
Euronews noted that the “controversial motion” was supported by a number of councillors who are themselves publicans:
As with many of the other reports, ITV News focused on criticism of the idea:
The story spread as far as Australia: News.com.au led with Danny Healy-Rae’s reaction to the government’s dismissal of his idea: