herald

Sunday 18 November 2018

ACHTUNG THE EEJIT... MILLIONS OF GERMANS LAUGH AT HEALY-RAE'S PLEAS TO EASE DRINK-DRIVE LAWS

JUST when the Germans thought they'd seen it all.

These are the latest scenes of Ireland to hit television screens in Germany – and let's just hope that Angela Merkel wasn't among the 2m viewers.

Drink-driving, a man described as a "Guinness fan" and the political dynasty that is the Healy-Raes. About the only thing missing was Dustin the Turkey all over again.

Fresh from the assault on German ears that was Deutschland uber alles, Spiegel TV has aired a documentary on rural Ireland featuring Danny Healy-Rae's controversial battle to slacken drink-driving laws.

The Spiegel programme that takes a tongue in cheek look at the proposal ponders the question, 'Three Guinness is still okay, isn't it?' and looks at the politician who is "fighting for more merriness".

DEBUT

The publican councillor's debut aired on Spiegel TV on Sunday night, RTL's flagship investigative magazine programme that's been running since 1989.

The segment featuring the Kerry councillor will be available on Spiegel TV's website, which attracts an additional 100,000 hits per day.

Filmed in Kilgarvan in May, we meet 'Francie', a 70-year-old pensioner on his high stool in Healy-Rae's pub.

Francie, the narrator says, with his thick grey sideburns and green hat looks exactly as you would imagine a real Irishman to look.

"He has always driven to the pub... how else could he get home?" But gone are the days when you can drive home after a few pints, we are reminded, even in rural areas with no buses and taxis.

SLUG

"A man must be allowed to drink a few pints. He has a right to it. And, by God, after two or three or four pints you should still be allowed on the road," says Francie as he takes a slug of his drink.

And Francie's anger does not fall on deaf ears. Drink and Drive is a campaign by a local politician which is causing a stir nationally.

According to Spiegel: "The voice of this folksy politician carries weight; Danny comes from an infamous political clan. His father Jackie was a member of parliament and irritated Irish city politicians like a poltergeist from the country for decades."

Programme producer Roman Lehberger insists his take on the issue isn't mocking but it presented with humour.

"The core of the story is a serious issue and one that resonates with a lot of Germans," he told the Herald.

On his impressions of Mr Healy-Rae, he added: "He's a good-natured guy who really looks out for his people.

"It's a little humorous the way it's presented but the subject matter for Danny Healy-Rae is a serious one."

hnews@herald.ie

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