Father-of-four facing jail for driving without insurance in Limerick

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Inspector Dermot O’Connor said gardai were operating a checkpoint

Inspector Dermot O’Connor said gardai were operating a checkpoint

A MOTORIST who was disqualified from driving took the wheel after his partner had a panic attack, Kilmallock Court heard.

Patrick Mulvihill, aged 35, of Forest View, Kilfinane, pleaded guilty to driving without insurance and a licence.

Inspector Dermot O’Connor told the court that on February 24, 2018, members of the divisional Roads Policing Unit were operating  a checkpoint in Holycross, Bruff, when they encountered the defendant.

“They demanded the defendant’s insurance and driving licence. It transpired he was disqualified at the time,” said Inspector O’Connor.

The court heard Mr Mulvihill has three previous convictions for driving without insurance.

“Last December, he was disqualified from driving for seven years and ordered to do 200 hours of community service in lieu of three months in prison for no insurance,” said the inspector.

Brendan Gill, solicitor for Mr Mulvihill, told Judge Marian O’Leary it was “not at all good”.

“Mr Mulvihill and his partner instruct me that on the date of the offence occurred they were returning from his partner’s aunt’s month’s mind Mass. Her partner was driving. She suffered a panic and asthma attack. She has insurance,” he said.

“She asked him to drive and he initially resisted but then agreed. He immediately accepted he didn’t have insurance when gardai asked him. He knew he was caught,” added Mr Gill.

During the hearing, Mr Mulvihill’s partner, Eileen O’Riordan, took the stand and gave evidence that they have four children together.

She said on the date of the offence they were coming back from her aunt’s month’s mind Mass.

“We left early. I didn’t feel well. I pulled in three times. I had blurred vision, bad palpitations, pain in my left arm - it felt like a heart attack. I took my inhaler 14 times,” she said.

“I asked him three or four times to drive and he said no. I said, ‘Please, if you don’t I am going to crash’. We had children in the back of the car,” Ms O’Riordan told the court.

She said she told Mr Mulvihill, “I don’t care if you get caught, I don’t want to die tonight”.

“No sooner after he started driving we were stopped. I’m very sorry I asked him to do this. I was having a panic attack,” said Ms O’Riordan.

Insp O’Connor reminded her that “she is under oath”.

Ms O’Riordan accepted they pulled in at a petrol station before the checkpoint.

“What happened when Patrick pulled in?” asked Insp O’Connor.   

“He got out. I went for my inhaler,” said Ms O’Riordan.

Insp O’Connor then asked what happened?

“I sat in the driver’s seat and Patrick sat in the passenger’s seat. I attempted to deceive the gardai. I really thought I was going to die that night,” she replied.

"My aunt was only 46. I was very upset,” said Ms O’Riordan.

Insp O’Connor put it to the witness that the couple had swapped seats before approaching the checkpoint.

“Yes,” said Ms O’Riordan.

Judge Marian O’Leary asked what time this incident occurred at.

The inspector said 9.29pm.

The judge asked Ms O’Riordan if she had a phone and she said yes.

Brendan Gill said it is “not good in view of everything”.

“He is 35. They have four children. He has taken a break from a nursing course,” said Mr Gill.

For the no insurance offence, Judge O’Leary sentenced Mr Mulvihill to five months in prison and put him off the road for eight years.

She fined him €500 and a separate fine of €300 was handed down in relation to the driving licence offence.

Recognisance was fixed in the event of an appeal.