ICMSA and ICSA opposed to mandatory drink driving ban
The ICSA and the ICMSA say they are against mandatory bans to any motorist who exceeds the new limit by minimal amounts.
Major farming organisations have come out speaking against the changes to the drink driving law.
The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association and the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association have both come out and voiced their concerns over the new law. The new lowered drink driving limit was described as unrealistic and said the move would put an end to rural pubs.
The bill was put forward by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Mr. Shane Ross. The new rule would see any motorist receive a mandatory ban, should they exceed the lower limit of 20mg/100ml for commercial, novice and learner drivers or the normal limit of 50mg/100ml.
Until the bill is introduced the law remains that motorists will receive a fine and penalty points on their licence. Minister Ross rejected any suggestions the changes will affect rural life and businesses especially. He will hold a meeting on September 7th with farming organisations, insurance industry members and people involved in rural development.
ICMSA president John Comer recently responded to Minister Ross’ comments on the new limits, and said they are conscious of the need to send a message to those who do drink drive. Though he also spoke of his concerns that even special circumstances cannot be entertained. This is he says will result in the loss of people’s livelihood.
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association President, Eddie Punch, followed suit and said there is currently zero evidence to support claims that one unit is the cause of the increase in road fatalities last year. He said these increases may be due to the higher volumes of motorists on the road. He said enough harm was done to rural pubs and claims Ross wants to finish the job.
Eddie Punch of the ICSA said there was "zero proof" that people having a glass of wine with their Sunday dinner in the cities or a bachelor farmer having a pint and a game of cards in a country pub is in any way the cause of an increase in road fatalities in 2016, compared to the previous year.
He linked the greater volume of traffic on the roads with the rise in the number of road accidents.
"We have already gone a long way in closing down rural pubs, now Minister Ross wants to finish the job," Mr Punch said.
In a recent poll carried out by us, 72% of farmers said they were against the changes, while 28% felt they were fair. 70% meanwhile admitted to consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel.