Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Motorists urged to help pensioners

A town mayor has urged 'boy racers' to help drive people to the bingo

A town mayor has called on "boy racers" to drive elderly neighbours in the countryside to the pub and bingo.

Paddy Courtney, Mayor of Killarney, said young motorists should "adopt" a pensioner in isolated areas and use their cars to do some good rather than speeding and driving recklessly.

"If they want to be driving these cars, drive properly and mannerly," he said.

"Maybe adopt a friend and maybe take a neighbour to the bingo or down to the pub for two pints and then take them home."

Mr Courtney's novel suggestion follows attempts by Kerry County Council earlier this year to legalise drink-driving for people in rural areas.

Speaking to local station Radio Kerry about the scourge of teenagers driving dangerously late at night, the town chief called for the youngsters to start giving something back to the community. "Maybe these boy racers and racer girls, as they are called, they can look at this and say this is an opportunity to show we can do some good," he said.

But pensioners were warned not to get into a car if they do not feel comfortable with the motorist. Gerry Scully, of Age Action, said the proposal should be treated with caution.

"If they don't know the driver, and also if the driver has a record or propensity to drive recklessly then older people should not get into the car with them," he said.

"I would urge a certain amount of caution and common sense to be adopted by the older person, that if they don't feel secure with the person offering the lift that they don't accept the offer."

However, Mr Scully said rural isolation was a serious problem and the idea could work if it was properly organised and young drivers were properly vetted. "I don't know whether the boy racers will actually listen to a suggestion like this," he said.

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