Ireland in Uproar over Call for 'Drink-Driving Permits' to Combat Depression

Permits allowing people to drink alcohol then drive should be issued to make it easier for those in isolated, rural areas to visit the pub, according to a motion passed by a local government in Ireland.

Kerry County Council, which governs an area with a population of more than 120,000, is to formally ask the Irish government to allow some drivers to have the equivalent of up to three pints of beer.

The motion -- passed by five votes to three with seven abstentions --- said this would "greatly benefit people living alone looking at four walls and restore some bit of social activity in local pubs and may also help prevent depression and suicide."

The idea has been condemned by leading politicians, including Ireland's Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, so it appears unlikely to be adopted. Kerry does not have the power to change the law itself, the country's justice department stressed.

However, Danny Healy-Rae, the councilor behind the motion, was sticking to his guns Thursday.

Healy-Rae, who runs a pub in the village of Kilgarvan, said because people couldn't drink alcohol in pubs then drive home, they were instead buying it in supermarkets and drinking at home. This could lead to a downward spiral that ended with some taking their own lives, he argued.

"I know of instances where the local garda [police] have to call out to these people to see if they are all right, to see if they are still there," he said.

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