Limerick drunk driver admits to garda he ‘had a few pints’

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

A CROOM man who crashed his car into a hedge was found to be over the drink driving limit, Kilmallock court heard.

A CROOM man who crashed his car into a hedge was found to be over the drink driving limit, Kilmallock court heard.

Anthony Fitzgerald, aged 48, of Caherass, Croom pleaded guilty to the offence at Shandrum, Charleville on December 23, 2011.

Inspector Edward Golden said at around 10pm Garda Gerard Dillon attended the scene of a single vehicle collision.

“A blue Volvo was crashed into a hedge on the right hand side of the road.

“The garda spoke to a man standing beside the car whose speech was slurred and the garda got a strong smell of intoxicating liquor.

“The defendant admitted to the garda that he had a few pints and had been driving the car at the time of the accident,” said Insp Golden.

Fitzgerald was taken to Mallow garda station where the intoxalyser reading was 74 mgs of alcohol over 100mls of breath.

Fitzgerald’s solicitor, Tom Kiely, said his client has three children – aged 20, 18 and 13.

“He fully co-operated with gardai at the scene. He immediately apologised and made admissions,” said Mr Kiely.

The solicitor said Mr Fitzgerald had an electrical company employing 28 people.

“After the Celtic Tiger the business went into liquidation and he has huge personal debts from guarantees he made.

“There are judgements against him.

“He is paying them as best he can in instalment orders,” said Mr Kiely, who added that Fitzgerald is in receipt of €217 in social welfare a week and his wife gets €230 for caring for his mother-in-law.

The court heard that he has put a business plan for a new company for electrical servicing to Ballyhoura.

“With the support of Ballyhoura he will start a new company.

“It will obviously be a huge inconvenience being disqualified in a new business venture, especially electrical servicing,” said Mr Kiely, who asked for the maximum postponement of the disqualification’s commencement date.

“[It will allow] him to get this start-up up and going.

“His son, who is 18, will be finished his Leaving Cert and be able to support his father in the business and driving him from A to B,” said Mr Kiely.

Judge Mary Larkin disqualified Fitzgerald from driving for three years but agreed to postpone it until July.

She also fined Fitzgerald €500 and ordered him to pay €100 witness expenses.

“I appreciate the fact that he met the charges fairly and squarely and his co-operation with gardai,” said Judge Larkin.