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.