Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae has called for the government to introduce drink-driving permits for those living in rural areas.
The Independent TD made the suggestion in the Dáil today, saying the permits would help with rural isolation.
He said people living in rural Ireland are suffering from isolation and depression by not being able to go to the pub and have been "isolated in their homes like rabbits trapped in a burrow".
The Tánaiste Simon Coveney agreed that social isolation is an issue, but that rural Ireland was changing and reiterated that it was "irresponsible" to suggest that the problem could be reduced through drink-driving.
He said: "The first thing we need to do with people on our roads is to ensure they are capable of driving and are not impacted by alcohol or drugs or anything else that can endanger other people who are using those roads."