Thank God the Government has taken away the fear of the ban of the drink driving. Imagine what the country would be like if Paddy wasn’t allowed to drive home with a few pints on him, run the gauntlet of the local garda in the Fiesta squad car, making it in the door of his isolated cottage just in time for Oireachtas Report, his nightly joust with the law successful again. So he will be thrilled with the new “Just Above” category of drink drivers who have learned this week that they will not face a ban but some penalty points instead, and sure with insurance costs going through the roof anyway, what harm are the penalty points, but a badge of honour to show the lads down the pub. Remember, it is but a short year ago that this country was driven while drunk by our former leader.
The new laws are multi-tiered — once if you were over the limit you knew you were shagged and were facing a ban unless you were able to hire some fancy-pants uppity lawyer who was great on the auld technicalities and could get ya off because the garda had forgotten to put the fada on the “a” in Ballynagrauneenbhaile Upper on the charge sheet. Now there are varying degrees of drunk driver. No more ordinary auld drunk driver for you anymore. Now, the “Just Above” category is designed to eliminate the fella who didn’t really mean to drive home drunk, as opposed to the fellow who’s langered and driving drunk every week.
The new “Just Above” lad will get penalty points and a fine for his/her misdemeanor instead of the ban. So, it’s good to know that the courts will be clear, but the casualty wards will be full as a result of this new law. You see, it’s not the “Just Above” lads the guards want to catch, it’s the “Well Above Locked” category that is the biggest fish. And sure there’s no point clogging up the courts with these innocent souls who didn’t really know what they were doing. So who falls into the “Just Above” category?
(1 ) The Pioneer who Broke Out — Rural Ireland is full of these characters who never touched a drop til they were in their mid-thirties and had their hearts broken by Mary in Macra who went off instead with Johnny The Alcoholic in his fast cars doing wheelies down near Headford. This leads The Pioneer Who Broke Out to tear into a “faste of pints and chasers” , combining with years of Miwadi to make an eejit of himself. He will just get a few penalty points and a “musha let him off, he’s harmless” from the judge.
(2 ) Priests and doctors — It’s a hazard of the job that they might be a little over the limit. Sure the priest is slugging it all day on the altar; and the doctor would probably be having a glass of it with his dinner as his/her class of people normally do. Penalty points here too.
(3 ) Funeral attendees — Whereas funeral attendees (or potential funeral attendees ) are normally the highest category to be caught in speeding offences (”I was on me way to me sick mudder’s deathbed, guard. Honest” ), they too are powerless to refuse a glass of whisky forced into their hands while the corpse is being waked. Let them off...
(4 ) Mayo supporters — What do I need to say? A lifetime of heartbreak is enough reason to allow them drive while drunk, as they may never get the full week of drinking for a homecoming around The Mall in Castlebar anyway.
(5 ) Galway city commuters — Hours and hours of being stuck on Quincentenary Bridge inhaling the fumes of the cars of your fellow travellers is enough to affect the blood, breath, alcohol analysis. It’d never stick in court.
They might have taken away our income, our free water, our right to use 34 bags to wrap our few bits of shopping in, our right to throw snackboxes into the ditch, but they will never take away the right to drive while drunk. It’s part of what we are. Set them up there Seamus. I’m still only Just Above, It’s me metabolism, ya see.”