Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told road safety campaigners that the Government may seek the agreement of the opposition to cut short debate on the new Road Traffic Bill to ensure it passes before the summer.

The bill, which aims to introduce stricter drink-driving laws, has been delayed because of objections by a small number of rural TDs.

The road safety group PARC wrote to the Taoiseach asking him to intervene to ensure the passage of the legislation through the Dáil before the summer recess.

In a response, Mr Varadkar said under new politics the Dáil no longer used the guillotine to time limit debate.

However he said "we may need to make an exception, thought that would require broad cross-party support".

He said "the use of the guillotine would have to agreed by consensus of the Dáil business committee".

"I think we are getting to that point as the endless debate is holding up this and other important legislation," he said.

Delays in passing the legislation have been criticised by the chair of the Road Safety Authority Liz O'Donnell who described a group of rural TDs holding up the bill as "disgraceful and self serving".

The bill will provide for the automatic disqualification of motorists who are caught driving with an alcohol level between 50mg and 80mg per 100ml of blood.

Up to now these drivers could receive three penalty points on their licence and a €200 fine but remain on the road.

The bill will also penalise vehicle owners who allow a learner driver on the road without supervision, and would allow gardaí to seize a vehicle driven by an unaccompanied learner driver.

The legislation was scheduled for debate in the Dáil this week, but it was not reached on the Dáil schedule because of a lengthy debate on the Judicial Appointments Bill.