Prison term for Limerick woman who was not insured

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Limerick Courthouse
A YOUNG mother was sentenced to four months imprisonment after she admitted driving without insurance for a fourth time.

A YOUNG mother was sentenced to four months imprisonment after she admitted driving without insurance for a fourth time.

Sarah O’Neill, aged 21, of Linehan Avenue, Prospect pleaded guilty to numerous road traffic offences relating to an incident near her home on January 9, last.

Sgt John Cleary, Henry Street, said the defendant, who was stopped while driving at around 9.30pm, was not insured on the night and was disqualified from driving at the time.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly was told O’Neill, who has a two-year-old daughter, has a number of previous convictions for driving without insurance and that she was disqualified for ten years as recently as last October.

Solicitor Sarah Ryan said her client received a suspended prison sentence in March of this year and that another similar prosecution is pending against her client.

Ms Ryan said that incident happened on the same day her client appeared in court in March, which Judge O’Kelly commented was “about as cheeky an afront to the court I have ever heard”.

After placing the defendant in the cell area for a number of hours, the judge commented that O’Neill “doesn’t seem to pay any attention to fact that she is disqualified.”

In her evidence, O’Neill told the court she didn’t think the previous disqualifications were serious and that she just didn’t think before driving “I wasn’t thinking,” she said adding that the car was also used by her mother and sister..

“I didn’t understand it really,” she told the court adding that she had cried in the cell area as she has never spent a night in prison before.

The defendant told Judge O’Kelly she now realises the seriousness of her actions and she undertook not to drive again.

However, the judge said he was not satisfied with her evidence .

He added that if the did not impose an immediate custodial sentence, the message would go out that it is okay to drive while disqualified.

The judge imposed a four month prison sentence and he disqualified Ms O’Neill from driving for 15 years.

He also fined her €500 for driving without insurance.

O’Neill has appealed the severity of the sentence.