Updated: 10/05/18 : 07:27:15
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Dáil row erupts nd suspended over 'drink link' pilot scheme

There were explosive scenes in the Dáil last night after a row broke out between two Kerry TD's over the new rural transport initiative - 'drink link.'

The row erupted after Danny Healy-Rae TD asked Taoiseach Leo Varadkar whether he stood by a comment made by Transport Minister Shane Ross last week branding him a "road traffic terrorist".

The dispute gained momentum when Junior Transport Minister Brendan Griffin criticised Healy-Rae for opposing the roll out of the pilot initiative.

Mr Griffin said it was a very progressive step.

He said: "It is a major step forward in terms of rolling out in rural Ireland, the type of transport services that are available in urban parts of Ireland."

"You’re letting down the people of Kerry."

Mr Healy-Rae hit back saying: "“You’re letting down the people of Kerry” and a heightened argument between the pair followed.

        Junior Transport Minister Brendan Griffin (centre) smiling during the heated debate

Leas-Ceann Comhairle, Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher tried to gain control of the situation saying, "We are not going to play the Kerry game here. It can be played in Croke Park."

It comes as a number of TDs, including the two Healy-Rae brothers, have vehemently opposed the progression of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill from going through the chamber.

The controversial bill would lower the threshold for an automatic drink-driving disqualification Danny Healy-Rae told the Dáil that it is “ridiculous” to think that eight routes in Kerry are supposed to meet the needs of “all the rural people who will be isolated in their homes following the passage of this bill”.

Responding, Mr Griffin said: “I am not sure if Deputy Danny Healy-Rae welcomes it but I know his brother has not welcomed the scheme.

He did, however, welcome it on Radio Kerry. He said even if there is one route in one part of Kerry he would welcome it, once a week. Now in May he is not welcoming it.”

As the row continued, Leas-Ceann Comhairle, Pat 'The Cope' Gallagher suspended the house until 10.30am this morning, Thursday.

Link: Sligo Today 9/5/2018