Limerick woman banned for two years after early-morning collision en route to work

David Hurley


David Hurley

The contested hearing took place at Limerick District Court

The contested hearing took place at Limerick District Court

A WOMAN who was more than twice the legal alcohol limit while driving to work in Limerick has been disqualified from driving for two years.

Geraldine Harrahill, aged 58, of Clonkeen, Lisnagry has pleaded not guilty to drink-diving at Murroe Road, Limerick on September 30, 2016.

During a contested hearing, Garda James Bourke said he met Ms Harrahill when he attended the scene of a multi-vehicle road accident shortly before 9am.

He said she was driving a Volkswagen Golf which had rear-ended another vehicle near the junction with the Dublin Road.

While speaking to the defendant, Garda Bourke notes she appeared “very drowsy” and that there was strong smell of alcohol on her breath.

Ms Harrahill, who told gardai she was driving to work in Castleconnell, was arrested at 9.10am and taken to Henry Street gardai station once the scene of the accident had been cleared.

Judge Marian O’Leary was told the defendant was unable to give a sample of her breath to gardai and that a doctor was called to the garda station to take a sample of blood from her.

An analysis of the sample showed a concentration of 107 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood.

Garda Mags O’Brien who also attended the scene told the court that Ms Harrahill remained at the scene for some time following her arrest as gardai waited the arrival of a tow truck to remove her car.

She told the court she and her colleague arrived at Henry Street garda station at 9.40am.

Barrister Pat Barriscale put it to the witness that once his client had been arrested and her liberty deprived she should have been taken to Henry Street garda station immediately.

“It was for your convenience that you stayed,” he said to which Garda O’Brien replied: “I don’t agree”.

Seeking to have the case dismissed, the barrister noted the certificate of postage which was submitted to the court indicated the blood sample had been posted at 11.15am on the day of the offence.

He said this did not tally with the evidence of Garda Bourke who has stated that he retained the sample for a number of hours “He can’t have it both ways,” said Mr Barriscale.

He also submitted there had been a significant delay in bringing the case to court and that no reason had been given as to why.

Having considered the submissions, Judge O’Leary said she was satisfied the State had proven it’s case.

She noted the defendant is a mature woman in full time employment who had “made a mistake”. She also noted she was fully insured and had a valid driving licence on the day.

She fined Ms Harrahill €500 and disqualified her from driving for two years.

Recognisance were fixed in the event of an appeal.