Minister of Transport admits to driving while under the influence 'a long time ago'


The Transport Minister of Ireland, Shane Ross has admitted to RTE’s Primetime that he got behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol and above the legal limit at least one time in his past.

He was asked on 'Prime Time' last night if he had ever driven his car while over the legal alcohol limit and his answer was:
"Of course I have. You see, I haven't had a drink for 30 years or so. So it would have been a very long time ago. But of course, I have. And I understand those dangers.”

"I understand those from my own situation. But it is very important to me now that people don't accept the culture which was current in the times when I was young and that that culture is forever banished."

The Minister of Transports admission that he has driven his car while over the speed limit a long time ago came on the same day as a judge expressed concern that the age profile of drink drivers appeared to be getting younger.

Judge Mary Devins of Ballina District Court said herself yesterday that the average age of people convicted of drink driving used people over the age of 60 bu that she has noticed that there is an increase in the number of younger people getting prosecuted in court for drink-driving offences in recent years.

The opinion of the judge was expressed during the case of a mother-of-two who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol in Crossmolina, Co Mayo, last July.

The Gardaí caught the drunk driver at 2.55am in the morning when they noticed she was driving without any headlights. Not only that, when she was stopped, a smell of alcohol was detected and she was also slurring her speech.

The woman was arrested and taken to Ballina garda station, where a test showed she had a blood-alcohol level of 181 mg per 100 ml which is more than three-and-a-half times the legal limit.

In a bizarre request, her legal counsel asked the judge to defer her driving ban until June 11, 2016, until a later date to facilitate the completion of a hairdressing course.

The woman received a fine of €250 and was disqualified from driving for three years, with effect from June 12 so the request for the deferral of the ban was granted.

In the judgement against the mother of two, District Court Judge Mary Devins said:
"The age of drink drivers used to be upwards of 60 years of age, typically, and now it's younger,"

"Why would you do it when you have two young children?" she asked the defendant.

The woman replied: "I can't answer that. I know it was wrong."

Judge Devins said: "I would like to get into your head, and the heads of people your age and younger, who are drinking and driving. It is a worrying trend."