Concerned judge throws the book at Limerick motorists

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Concern: presiding Judge Eugene O'Kelly imposed prison sentences on uninsured drivers
CONCERNS are growing over the number of motorists in Limerick who are coming before the courts for driving while uninsured.

CONCERNS are growing over the number of motorists in Limerick who are coming before the courts for driving while uninsured.

Earlier this week, more than a dozen cases of motorists accused of driving without insurance came before Limerick Court during a single day.

The presiding judge, Eugene O’Kelly, has also expressed concerns over what he described as the “rash of contempt” being shown by motorists in Limerick who are the subject of disqualification orders having previously been convicted of serious road traffic offences.

He made his comments as he imposed prison sentences on a number of men who pleaded guilty to driving while disqualified. “I cannot have the court cells packed up with people who are in breach of court orders,” commented the judge.

During one prosecution, Judge O’Kelly was told that Mark Cooney, aged 30, of Bruach na Sionna, Castleconnell was disqualified from driving when he was stopped by Garda Pat Kirwan at Childers Road, Limerick on June 9, 2012.

Sergeant Donal Cronin, prosecuting, said the defendant had been disqualified from driving in December 2008 after he was convicted of drink driving and again in November of last year after he was convicted of driving without insurance.

Solicitor John Herbert told the court his client was in the process of selling a car and that he was driving to meet a prospective buyer when he was stopped.

The judge imposed a six month prison sentence and he disqualified Mr Cooney from driving for 10 years.

In a separate case, Richard Mason, aged 41 of Drominbeg, Rhebogue pleaded guilty to driving without insurance near his home of January 27, last.

Sgt Cronin said, Mr Mason was disqualified from driving at the time as he was convicted of driving without insurance in July 2011.

He added that most of his 43 previous convictions were for road traffic offences.

Solicitor Ted McCarthy said his client, who works as a mechanic in a family business, was aware that he was almost half way into his disqualification when he was stopped.

“He accepts it was serious and that he took his eye off the ball,” he said.

Judge O’Kelly imposed a five month prison sentence and his disqualified Mr Mason from driving for ten years.

Both Mr Mason and Mr Cooney have lodged appeals against the severity of the sentences imposed in their respective cases.