Limerick garda fined for road traffic offences following fatal accident

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

a LIMERICK garda has been convicted of road traffic offences, after he was involved in a crash in which two people were killed.

a LIMERICK garda has been convicted of road traffic offences, after he was involved in a crash in which two people were killed.

Garda Enda Clifford, who is attached to Henry Street garda station, has appeared before Limerick District Court to face six road traffic charges, including failing to produce car tax and a driving licence, and for driving a vehicle with two bald tyres.

State solicitor Michael Murray told the court that Garda Clifford was a member of the traffic corps in Limerick at the time, when he was driving home on the M20 outside Limerick when the crash occurred in January 2011. But local gardai have now said Garda Clifford, a native of Killorglin in county, was never attached to the traffic corps.

Two men from Cork, aged 20 and 23, were killed after being hit by the Opel Astra driven by Garda Clifford, and accompanied by a female colleague.

Mr Murray said the offences came to light after the crash, when two pedestrians who were on the ground in the middle of the motorway were hit and suffered fatal injuries.

He said the thread pattern on one of the tyres was “quite bald and excessively worn”, and another tyre was worn to the extent that a plier chord was exposed.

Solicitor Dan O’Gorman said his client was pleading guilty to all charges, and there had been no complaint of the manner of his driving. The case was brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions following an investigation by the Garda Ombudsman.

Mr O’Gorman said while his client was involved in a “dreadfully tragic accident”, these are “fairly minor road traffic offences, which are dealt with every day by the district court” and he faced no “criminality culpability” in this case.

He said Garda Clifford was working on the late shift for a number of days prior to the accident, but had attempted to get new tyres through a local dealer. His said his client apologised for not having a licence and car tax, has no previous convictions, and is someone of “impeccable good character.”

“He’s a very upstanding member of the community,” he added. Judge Timothy Lucey fined him a total of €900, with three months to pay the fines, for having no licence, no tax, and for having two bald tyres. The other offences were taken into consideration.