Irish mayor calls for 'boy racers' to adopt a pensioner

A mayor from an Irish town has appealed to "boy racers" to drive elderly neighbours in the countryside to the pub and bingo.

The Mayor of Killarney, Paddy Courtney, has said young motorists should "adopt" a pensioner in isolated areas and use their cars for good.

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

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

Councillor Courtney made his comments as he talked to Radio Kerry about the scourge of teenagers driving dangerously at night.

"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.

However, pensioners have been warned not to get into a car if they do not feel comfortable with the motorist.

Gerry Scully, of the charity 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.

"There's certainly merit in the idea of the community looking after its older members, and if it can be inter-generational that's all the better.

"But I wouldn't suggest anybody go calling to a neighbour and offering to take them to the shops or offering to collect their pensions or anything like that, it would have to be properly organised and anybody working with older people do have to be vetted."

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