Kerry drink drive, rural isolation (Part 2)

Some quick folo-up on the last post about County Kerry passing a measure to allow limited drink driving in rural areas, in part to allow isolated residents more freedom to socialize at the nearest pub.

The Irish Independent has this story about a pub-owning couple in Kilflynn (between Listowel and Tralee) who have been driving home their customers for the past 15 years.

The Irish Times has an in-depth story about the closing of nearly 100 rural garda stations across Ireland, including one near Kilflynn. (See map with story). To be sure, many of the stations were open only part time, and “564 Garda stations will remain – significantly more than Northern Ireland, for example, which has 86 police stations for a population of 1.5 million people, with further closures planned; and Scotland, which has about 340 stations for 5.2 million people.”

But a County Galway woman quoted in the story sums up the concerns of many rural residents:

“Rural Ireland is slowly – and not even slowly – being closed down. Everything they are legislating for in Dublin has a huge impact here, and it will eventually close villages down. Why would young people come back here? Even to farm? The barracks is gone … the health centre will be next. The post office will be next. You can’t come out for a drink any more. People who for all their lives had the pub as their social outlet have had that taken away.