Getting to and from the boozer is not what it used to be. There was a golden age where you drove to the pub, had a few scoops and drove home happy. Indeed, few long journeys were completed by car without a couple of such pitstops along the route.
Then came the hideous smoking ban and within a week, the pubs went quieter by half. Still reeling from this, the publicans were hammered again. The drink limit was lowered and then lowered again. The Gardai were incentivised to set up checkpoints near pubs at night and even during daylight hours. The big losers were the rural publicans because of little or no local transport services hence their dependence on the motor car.
The notorious idiot Shane Ross wanted to take it even further. Where before a pint and a half of beer was considered safe to drive, he made even a half-pint dodgy. Already a half of all rural pubs are gone and those remaining only open after six in the evening with some only opening on weekend nights. This has devastated the rural community spirit all over the land and led to lonely binge drinking on the isolated farms.
There are Irish Pubs springing up in countries all over the world and word has it they are well liked concept. Meanwhile back in Ireland our own Government seem intent on closing all of ours. Publicans, particularly those in rural communities, put forward a suggestion that they should get some Government assistance to ferry their customers to and fro. Actually, it was Ross himself in a throwaway remark who suggested that if they were so concerned about their clientele then the publicans should fetch their customers in their own cars.
So the Vintners came back with a plan to do just that. They did not demand money to purchase a fleet of mini-buses nor suggest the Government sponsor half-price cars for this purpose. All they asked for was some kind of a tax break to offset the added costs involved. All they asked for was a reduction in Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) or a rebate on fuel costs. The blustering buffoon that is Ross has shot that down. Instead he waffled about meeting them and facilitating them meaning he has no intention of doing a fucking thing. He argued the vintners say they want to help save lives too. “If they are sincere about it let them get together with the insurance company and others and facilitate their customers by ensuring that they get home safely,” he said.
And because pompous Minister Ross is so divorced from the reality the rest of have to live with regarding the punitive cost of Irish motoring due to over-taxation, the windbag actually added, “We’re not talking about large expenditure. We’re talking about common sense.” The words ‘common sense’ coming from that mouth is truly ironic because he hasn’t a shred of it. He’s scraping around frantically now for something he can point at as an achievement because he knows that, having seen him in power, his electorate will not be fooled twice by the man. He’s desperate to have something done where he can take the credit for it in the vain hope of re-election.
Personally I believe the only memory of him we will have in ten years time will be his sterling efforts to increase rural suicides and denude the countryside of people.