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21 Jan 2022

Motorist warned he faces prison over driving incidents in Limerick towns

Newcastle West Court

Newcastle West Courthouse

HE IS facing a custodial sentence,” Judge Carol Ann Coolican said, having heard evidence against John Healy of Knocknaboula, Foynes about an incident in Abbeyfeale on May 9, last. 

Garda William McElligott said on that date he was attending a public order incident at New Street, Abbeyfeale when Mr Healy drove his own vehicle over the bridge,  breaking a red light and coming at high speed towards the gardai.

When he got out of the vehicle, the garda said, Mr Healy appeared highly intoxicated and began to verbally abuse him and attempted to assault him.

“He had to be restrained,” Garda McElligott said.

The garda made a note of the verbal abuse against him, including statements such as “I know where you live”, “I have the b***s to face you”, “All you have to hide behind is your badge” and “I will be waiting for you in Listowel”.

Mr Healy also included the garda’s family, with comments such as “I will get your wife and two kids.”

Following arrest, Mr Healy was tested for alcohol and drugs and tested positive for cocaine. The alcohol reading was 210mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

“He is putting his hands up. He was very wrong. He accepts he was wrong,” solicitor Michael Lane said on behalf of Mr Healy. “He went off the rails for a period of time.”

But he assured the judge his client would not be reoffending. “He has apologised to the garda in relation to those terrible comments. He really cringes to hear those comments read back again.” 

Arising from this incident, Mr Healy was charged with dangerous driving, drug driving and drink driving, using threatening and abusive words or behaviour and with being intoxicated in a public place.

He was also charged with driving without insurance or driving licence and with breaking a red light. 

Garda Denis McCarthy gave evidence that on May 14, 2020 at Ballyguiltenane Upper,  Mr Healy, whose address was given on the charge sheet as 5 Fortfield, Ballyhahill was involved in a road traffic accident in which the other vehicle was a write off.

“He is taking responsibility,” Mr Lane said. “It was an unlucky accident.” 

The court heard that Mr Healy has yet to pay compensation of €4,000, the value of the written-off car. “It is his intention to pay it in full,” Mr Lane said, asking for an adjournment to allow that to take place.

Mr Healy was charged with careless driving, and with driving without insurance and driving licence and failing to produce them in connection with the incident. 

In a third incident, Garda Dylan McCarthy was responding to a traffic accident involving two vehicles at Cork Road, Newcastle West last March 6 in which Mr Healy was one of the drivers.

He was charged with driving without insurance or a driving licence and failing to produce them following the incident, the court was told. 

“There are very serious matters before me,” Judge Coolican said.

She adjourned the cases to next week for finalisation. 

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