A PROPOSAL to ask the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar, to introduce new ‘D’ plates for any driver convicted of drunk-driving for a second time was rejected at last night’s meeting of Clare County Council.
The proposal, which was put forward by Cllr PJ Kelly (FF), proved controversial both because of the details of the motion itself and Cllr Kelly’s use of the phrase “Séan Mac An Asal”.
Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND) criticised Cllr Kelly over his use of the phrase, which he said was a derogatory term and insulting to rural dwellers.
“Many offenses are on the increase in this country because the punishment is not enough. Unfortunately, accidents are going to happen and we sympathise with anyone who has been involved with it. Accidents are inevitable but some of them are avoidable,” said Cllr Kelly.
“I don’t think that people would drive under the influence if there was a bigger deterrent in place. I think it would be much better to allow people to stay on the road and instead force them to carry a ‘D’ plate on the car.
“As well as that, I would suggest that people who are convicted of driving under the influence should be forced to appear bi-weekly at a local garda station. I think that would also be a deterrent for people.”
The motion was opposed by a large number of councillors and was eventually defeated, with 17 councillors voting against it and just two councillors in favourof it.
“I have a lot of respect for Cllr Kelly but I cannot support this motion. I think this would trivialise this [drink driving] to a serious degree and I can’t support that.
“This is a very serious issue and there have been plenty of lives lost because of this in recent years. The most suitable thing to do is put someone off the road,” said Cllr Cathal Crowe.
This feeling was echoed by Cllr Patricia McCarthy.
“I think that one conviction for drink driving is bad enough, but a second conviction, I think that a person should be put off the road for life. I don’t think anything justifies having a drink and getting behind the wheel of a car,” she said.
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