A stretch of road where scores of drivers have been caught for speeding is not located at the address cited on the prosecutions, a judge has ruled.
Newcastle West district court this week heard a number of prosecutions arising from Go Safe speed van detections on the N21 at Abbeyfeale East, a 50kph zone on the outskirts of the town.
Five motorists had pleaded guilty to the offence and were fined sums of between €100 and €150 before a solicitor representing another driver charged with speeding at the same location contested the charge. Solicitor Rossa McMahon, produced a number of maps in court which he claimed showed that the N21 did not in fact pass through Abbeyfeale East.
After studying the maps, Judge Aeneas McCarthy agreed and dismissed the prosecution. Two subsequent prosecutions at the same address were also thrown out by the judge on the same basis.
Abbeyfeale East has long been a popular location for the Go Safe vans. Scores of motorists have been caught exceeding the 50kph speed limit on the Limerick side of the town in the past year, leading to fines and penalty points.
“They are parked there more often than on any other road in the county and it is like shooting fish in a barrel,” said local councillor Liam Galvin.
“It is frustrating to see it and I think it is just a money-making racket.”
The Fine Gael councillor stressed he was “totally in favour” of the use of speed vans but that they should be used to target known accident black spots.
“Not one single person has been killed on that stretch of the road but if you go a few hundred metres beyond the speed limit, there have been seven people killed on that stretch of road in the past 30 years.”
A legal source said the ruling by Judge McCarthy could potentially mean that other convictions for speeding at that location could be appealed, but it is unlikely to many people would go to the cost and trouble of bringing appeal proceedings.