Outrage as Irish MP recommends one for the road

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The Independent Online

A politician from Ireland's governing party has said "jumpy" drivers might benefit from having a relaxing alcoholic drink to steady their nerves.

"If drink is such a sedative, it can make people who are jumpy on the road, or nervous, be more relaxed," said Mattie McGrath, Fianna Fail's Tipperary South representative, speaking out in favour of a modest tipple. His comments, reported on the front page of most Irish newspapers yesterday, were met with outrage from road safety groups.

Ireland is gripped by a vigorous debate over government plans to cut the legal blood alcohol content limit for motorists to 50mg per 100ml from 80mg to try to reduce road accidents.

Some 20 members of parliament from Prime Minister Brian Cowen's Fianna Fail party oppose lowering the limit which would rule out a pint of Guinness for drivers.