Learner driver caught speeding on busy County Limerick motorway

David Hurley


David Hurley

The lesser charge of driving without reasonable consideration was dropped at Newcastle West court

The lesser charge of driving without reasonable consideration was dropped at Newcastle West court

A LEARNER-driver who panicked after she took a wrong turn and ended up on the M20 motorway was fined €250 after she pleaded guilty to road traffic offences.

Eugenie Kiely, aged 23, of Whitehall, Parteen was prosecuted for careless driving following an incident at Ashfort, Patrickswell on March 23, 2018.

However, at Newcastle West Court, Inspector Alan Cullen indicated that having discussed the matter with the defendant and her solicitor, the State would accept a guilty plea to the lesser charge of driving without reasonable consideration subject to the court’s approval.

In evidence, Garda John Shanahan of the divisional roads policing unit said he was on duty when he observed the defendant driving a Volkswagen Golf at 165km/h at around 7.40am on March 23, last. 

He said the vehicle was travelling in the direction of Adare and that after activating the blue lights and stopping the car  he spoke with the driver who, he established, had a learner permit.

There were no other aggravating factors and Ms Kiely he confirmed, was accompanied by a fully qualified driver and was insured.

Conditions, he added, were “dry and bright” at the time.

Given the speed involved, the court was told a decision was taken to prosecute the defendant before the courts rather than issue a standard Fixed Charge Penalty Notice for speeding.

Garda Shanahan said Ms Kiely, who has no previous convictions or penalty points, had accepted she should not have been on the motorway.

Having spoken to her and having taken her details, he escorted her off the M20.

Judge Flann Brennan was told the defendant had taken a wrong turn on the morning and had panicked when she realised she had entered a motorway.

”She was trying to get off the road as quickly as she could,” said her solicitor who told the court his client has since passed her driving test and now holds a novice driving licence.

Having considered the evidence and noting there was no garda objection, Judge Brennan agreed to amend the charge as requested.

Having convicted Ms Kiely under the provisions of Section 51(a) of the Road Traffic Act, he fined her €250 giving her six months to pay.

While not a matter for the court, the offence also attracts four penalty points.

A charge of driving without a valid driving licence was taken into consideration.