Pointless rules: Disqualified but driving

Pointless rules: Disqualified but driving

When Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae suggested last week that rural drivers deserve special consideration under drink-driving laws, he was excoriated and all but made an object of fun.

He was, of course, playing to the gallery but he was serious as well — and he can easily reject those attacks with a charge of uninformed hypocrisy.

Last Thursday, the public accounts committee heard evidence from the Courts Service that fewer than a third of those disqualified from driving surrender their licence. The rest remained at large and able to evade prosecution due to a legal loophole.

A significant proportion of those driving on our roads are, therefore, doing so illegally. There are many reasons a person might be disqualified from driving all of them serious — but we do not, it seems, take that sanction seriously enough to ensure its application.

Our old cultural Achilles’ heel is in play once again — legislate but don’t bother to enforce the law. Those who scoffed at Mr Healy-Rae last week might look in the mirror and ask who the joke is really on.

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