A YOUNG mother has been accused of putting the lives of her own children at risk after she was caught driving on the wrong side of the road and overtaking on a bend while two of her children were unrestrained in the car. Mother-of-three Victoria Ryan, aged 23, of 16 Church View, Askeaton has pleaded guilty at Newcastle West to dangerous driving and a number of other road traffic offences at Askeaton on June 9, 2012.
The court heard last Thursday that one of Ryan’s children, who are all under the age of five, was sitting on the lap of a front seat passenger while the other was “asleep on the floor” after she was detected by gardai.
Insp Paul Reidy said that at 11.30pm gardai on patrol saw a car approach them “on the wrong side of the road”, and after crossing back over the suspect car “proceeded to overtake another vehicle along a continuous white line, going into a bend”. The car had only one light working at the front, and none at the back. Gardai pulled the vehicle over and spoke to Ryan, who was the driver. As well as spotting that the vehicle was not taxed, gardai saw that inside there was “a child asleep on the floor” and another child “on the lap of the front seat passenger”. The court heard that Ryan has a total of 26 previous convictions, including three for having unrestrained children in her vehicle. She was disqualified from driving for two years and fined €2,000 for driving without insurance on May 14, while she was also convicted of theft in October 2013 and October 2012.
Solicitor Pat Enright, defending, admitted that this is “obviously a very serious matter” and accepts that Ryan “has a very, very bad record”, however he insisted that she is “not normally a person who drives in any way dangerously”.
Judge Mary Larkin was highly critical of Ryan’s behaviour, stating that she “placed her own children in danger” and questioned if the HSE had been notified. “I don’t accept that anybody can place their own children at risk in such a way”, she added.
Mr Enright said that at the time of the offence, Ryan’s family was in “a state of crisis” as her partner’s nephew had recently died by suicide. On the night in question Ryan had received a phone call that another relative had attempted self harm, which caused her to “get into an absolute state of panic”. Mr Enright said that Ryan is “generally a very good mother” to her children, who are aged five, four and three-years-old. Judge Larkin disqualified Ryan from driving for four years and fined her €500 for dangerous driving, while she fined her a further €650 for driving with two unrestrained children and no front headlight.