Updated: 08/09/17 : 06:25:09
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Rural Ireland supports new drink driving disqualification proposals says Ross

Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, has said that rural areas are supportive of new proposals to disqualify all drivers caught drink driving.

Mr Ross spoke at a meeting in response to matters raised following proposed amendment of the Road Traffic Bill 2017 to ensure that all drivers guilty of drink driving will receive a disqualification.

At present, some drivers are permitted to receive penalty points instead.

Mr Ross said the evidence suggests that "this Bill has widespread support, including in rural areas, which have suffered particularly from the effects of drink driving."

Queries have been raised about the impact of the proposal would have on social life in rural Ireland.

However, the Minister has emphasised that rural areas suffer disproportionately from drink driving deaths.

Minister Ross indicated that there are quite separate but real issues to do with rural isolation which need to be examined.

Minister Ross said: "While I do not for a moment accept that my proposal will be damaging to rural Ireland, I do agree that there is an issue of social isolation in rural areas and a need for creative thinking to help people get out and about, meet friends and have a drink, and get home safely."