Updated: 05/04/17 : 10:58:31
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More people will end up "in mental institutions" with new drink driving laws

Cork East TD Kevin O'Keeffe has said that proposed changes to drink driving laws would lead to more people ending up "in mental institutions".

Minister Ross is proposing to ban first-time offenders caught at the lower limit. Under current legislation, they do not get disqualified and instead get a fine and penalty points.

“You’d have more people inside mental institutions if you enforce this law, Minister,” said Deputy O’Keefe.

“We’re losing post offices, we’re losing the small shop in the villages, the pub is the final meeting place left in many villages.”

Earlier, Minister Ross accused the Vintners Federation of Ireland and other groups of cynically lobbying against new drink driving laws.

He told the Oireachtas Transport Committee that all research shows this needs to be done and says it wasn't based on what is now been shown to be fake breath test data.

“Before someone says, as I’m sure they will, and some already have, that they have doubts about these figures because of the recent issues over figures deriving from An Garda Siochána, the figures I am quoting are based on specific notices issued to specific individuals detected and arrested for drink driving offences, and follow a determination of the detected alcohol levels by the NBRS,” he said.

“They are absolutely reliable.”