| 13°C Dublin

D'Arcy: Why I was right to cut off Healy-Rae

TODAY FM's Ray D'Arcy has no regrets about slamming down the phone on controversial councillor Danny Healy-Rae -- branding his drink-driving scheme as "farcical".

Kerry County Council has supported a call from Cllr Healy-Rae for rural gardai to issue permits which would allow people in rural areas to drive on back roads from their local pub.

Ray (48) invited the Mr Healy-Rae on to his radio show to discuss the controversial motion -- but hung up on him three minutes later, angrily telling him "this is my show" and "good luck".

Today, Ray told the Herald he would do it again "in a heartbeat". And he hopes that the Mr Healy-Rae's motion doesn't gain international notoriety as it was nothing other than "a waste of time".

"The whole thing is like something out of a Myles na gCopaleen novel. I hope it doesn't go global," he added.

"It is embarrassing and we got loads of emails from people from Kerry who thanked us for reacting like that.

"They said they were embarrassed to be from Kerry if this is what is going on."

Ray said that his blood began to boil when he heard Mr Healy-Rae outlining his position on Today FM news.

The councillor had said there was no safety issue because the proposal should only apply to minor roads.

"He was on the news before I went on air and I was just fuming just hearing him," said Ray. "The man doesn't deserve air time. I asked him where he had been when the rest of us were involved in a serious discussion about road safety and he couldn't answer that, so I decided that his time was up."

Ray agrees there should be an open discussion about loneliness in rural Ireland.

"There is a serious issue about rural isolation but allowing people to drink and drive is not the answer," he said.


Meanwhile, despite the widespread outcry against the drink-driving permit proposal, other rural councils are now considering the proposal.

Loughrea's Cllr Michael Fahy said he would also be in support of a similar motion in Galway.

Independent Cllr Fahy said that he was "100pc" behind the call for drink- driving permits.

"It's certainly something I would support," he said. "We don't want to see people drunk, we're only talking about up to three pints," he added.