A Fianna Fáil TD has called for rural pubs to be supplied with "DIY alcohol test units" instead of the Government launching a new rural transport which is only creating "a binge drinking bus".

Acting chairperson of the Oireachtas Transport Committee, Kevin O'Keeffe has suggested the €500,000, allocated for a new pilot rural link transport scheme, should be used to give publicans in rural areas the breathalyser "machinery" which costs €500 per unit.

He said local publicans would supply the refills for the machine and "nobody would be making a legal determination. It would be just a guidance."

He said he welcomed the rural transport initiative but added that "I don't think it is hitting the nail on the head".

Responding, Minister for Transport Shane Ross said, "The problem of rural isolation is not exclusively about getting back and forward to pubs.

"As I understand it you are suggesting that money would be better spent on giving publicans a breathalyser unit so they could breathalyse their customers which fails to recognise that the problem of rural isolation is much wider than people just going back and forward to pubs.

"I think it is somewhat misleading to suggest that's what it's about."

He said there are people in rural Ireland that get involved in all sorts of activities which are not pub orientated.

He said that part of social life revolves around pubs but people will also use buses to play bingo, go to dances and sporting occasions.