DISGRACED former minister Jim McDaid was back behind the wheel of his car on Friday, just over 48 hours after the drink-driving incident that could end his political career.
McDaid posed for photographers in Letterkenny where he was attending a wedding with his girlfriend Siobhan O'Donnell. His keys were clearly visible in his hands.
McDaid is nevertheless "completely broken and absolutely devastated" by his decision to drive his car while intoxicated, friends have told the Sunday Tribune.
They say that he is genuinely disgusted and sickened by his actions. They also say that while the advice to politicians at the centre of a storm is not to read newspapers or watch the news, a fragile McDaid is "soaking up" the coverage.
But they stress that despite the enormous media coverage, McDaid's only concern is that he could have seriously injured or killed other people by his actions. "He is all at sea, " one source said.
While there have been suggestions that McDaid might be better off to resign his seat, those who know him believe that would not help the Donegal politician. They say that without politics to aspire to, his problems might increase.
The Taoiseach has made it clear that there is no question of McDaid being asked to resign. "I am obviously very disappointed. Deputy McDaid has unreservedly apologised and he understands the implications and has taken full responsibility, the law will take its course, " he said.
Asked why there would be no action taken against the TD on the political front the Taoiseach said: "He will pay a heavy price. He accepts that as a lawmaker there is a higher standard that should be applied to him. It would be nice if there were never cases like this but there are."
Meanwhile, it has emerged that only a minority of motorists convicted of drunk driving tell their insurance companies. The Oireachtas Committee on Enterprise and Small Business, was told by the general manager of Hibernian Insurance, Dick O'Driscoll, last week that only "a tiny minority" of convicted drunk drivers tell their insurers.