ROUGHLY one in four Irish farmers has driven home from the pub after consuming as many as three pints in the last six months, a new poll has discovered.
A joint Irish Examiner/ICMSA opinion poll found that some 23 per cent of those surveyed had driven on as many as three pints in the last six months, while one in five said they would feel “safe enough” getting behind the wheel after consuming up to four pints.
The poll also found that male farmers were twice as likely to drive after a drink, with 26 per cent of men, compared to 12 per cent of women, saying they had driven home recently after drinking three pints.
The vast majority of respondents did, however, say that they wouldn’t even consider driving home with three or four pints in their system.
Farmers in Bantry, Co. Cork showed the highest incidence of driving after drinking, with 52 per cent of respondents there admitting they had driven in the previous six months having consumed up to three drinks, compared with 36 per cent in Co. Limerick and 13 per cent in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
The results of the poll have been described as “concerning” by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), while the Irish Rural Link organisation used the opportunity to call for a better rural transport network.
Brian Farrell, Communications Manager of the RSA, said: “It looks like overall, while very disappointing to see such relaxed attitudes to drink driving, it is important to say that the overwhelming majority of people do not drink drive.
“While the main problem we have is with the extent to which our younger drivers are drinking and driving, there is still a stubborn cohort of older drivers who are prepared to risk a couple of drinks and also drink to excess while out — in some cases driving their tractor to and from the pub with fatal consequences.”