Last week, Kilgarvan’s finest, Danny Healy-Rae, TD, called in the Dáil for a permit system that would allow a fellow down a few pints in a rural pub, and then drive home with immunity from the law.
In response, Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who you think would have better things to be doing, said Mr Healy-Rae’s comments were nonsense of the highest order. He went on to claim that once we had the internet working right, and a rural bus service running properly, we would need little else out here in rural parts.
If you ask me, both men were talking through their respective backsides. Neither had the solution. However, I feel I have the answer to the dilemma.
Deputy Healy-Rae’s ‘drinks permit’ system would never work, simply because you would also need a ‘get out of jail free card’ and a few other items from the Monopoly board, should you run aground, or over the ditch, or into a bog hole.
And neither will Simon’s solution cut muster, for the internet is a nonsense, and is no suitable replacement for the few jars. As for a rural bus scheme to the pub, this will never work, because rural Ireland is located outside Dublin.
Our government worries as much about life outside Dublin, as I worry about life on Mars. The solution to the problem of getting every man needing a pint to the pub can instead be found in pedal power. The offer of a free bicycle for the drinker is the answer, I believe.
A state-sponsored government bike, with a soft saddle and a light attached, is the only job going forward, or indeed going back home too. A government-sanctioned bike with a whistle attached, and a flare gun for those who might get into difficulty on their way home, is the solution we have been crying out for.
A free bike scheme would be a lot cheaper than rolling out a bus service, and a lot more craic than that old fool of an internet.
The allocation of bikes to the most deserving would of course be the big stumbling block. The bikes would need to go to genuine drinkers and not Pioneers, or members of the keep-fit brigade who tend to use bikes for the most pointless of purposes.
The applicant seeking a boozing bike, would need to prove beyond doubt that he is indeed a drinker of substance and not a man given to a pint on a Sunday, or at Christmas. Only a man who religiously engages in the ritual of wetting his whistle should be considered.
A reference, perhaps from one or two reputable publicans, would suffice in vouching for the fact that the man in question is the devil when it comes to alcohol. Perhaps a parish priest too could give his blessing, by adding that the man seeking the bike can regularly smell of drink when his tongue is extended at mass.
A rural-based guard (if one can be found) might add his voice to the chorus, by stating that the applicant needing a leg up, can regularly be found with no leg at all, after a night on the sauce. The guard might suggest he would be a most suitable candidate for a bicycle, if only for sobering up purposes.
All told, I believe my idea on rural bikes is far more practical, and indeed workable, than any of the other proposals suggested. All we really need now is the push from the likes of Danny or Simon, to get a bike scheme on the road.