Longford publican hits out at proposed drink driving bill

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Minister Shane Ross

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has plans to impose a driving ban on those convicted of drink driving

A Longford publican has spoken out about drink driving laws, and the government's consideration of a tax break for publicans who ferry their customers home after a night out

John Duignan of Tally Ho in Longford told the Longford Leader that he would welcome the introduction of a tax break, should Minister for Transport Shane Ross' controversial drink driving bill go ahead.

"But we think it's highly unlikely that it will happen," said Mr Duignan.

"We don't agree with the bill at all. And not because publicans are in favour of drink driving - because they're not in favour of drink driving. But I believe strongly that people should be allowed to have one drink.

"What happens is that a driver might have one drink and be driving two other people home. And if they can't have that one drink, then they're often not enjoying their night."

In fact, Mr Duignan added that the bill will pose problems for restaurants too.

"I'm surprised that restaurants aren't up in arms about this. In a restaurant, people should be able to have one glass of wine when they go for a meal, and then go home," he said.

However, while Minister Ross is busy planning, Minister for Tourism Brendan Griffin last weekend told the Irish Independent that he intends to spend the summer recess examining the prospect of tax breaks and other measures for publicans who agree to provide their own transport for customers.

This, according to Mr Duignan, is something that rural publicans might get board with, because publicans are not in favour of drink driving.

"Shane Ross has been trying to imply that publicans are pro-drink driving, but we're not. We're in favour of common sense. We're in favour of having one drink and then driving home."

What is your opinion of Minister Ross' bill? Have your say over on our poll: Should drink driving laws be stricter or will it see the demise of rural pubs?