The Irish government began implementing tougher drunk driving laws in 2005. The head of the Vintner's Federation, Gerry Rafter, says it's easy to understand the business hit pubs took by looking at the typical farmer.
Some in rural Ireland trying to loosen drunk-driving laws to support local pubs
Mary Wards is a legendary pub in the rural West of Ireland. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but this three room, one-story building is famous for singing sessions, accordion playing and the occasional impromptu shotgun-target-shooting session.“It would be a lively pub,” says James Avery, a bartender at Mary Wards. “It’s one of these places you feel you can come to the pub, on your own, and have a bit of fun.” But lately, Mary Wards hasn’t been as lively of a pub. Business is down, according to Avery, by about 20 percent. That’s in line with other rural Irish pubs. The Vintner’s Federation represents Irish pubs, and the organization estimates the drop-off has been between 15-30 percent for2012, although exact figures won’t be available until this April. Farmers used to park tractors outside Mary Wards during lunch. The parking lot these days is empty during the day. The slowdown is being blamed, in large part, on transportation. Many longtime rural customers don’t want to drive to or from the pubs because they don’t want to get arrested for drunk-driving. The Irish government began implementing tougher drunk driving laws in 2005. The head of the Vintner’s Federation, Gerry Rafter, says it’s easy to understand the business hit by looking at the typical farmer.