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Councillor who falsely nominated another driver in speeding case has driving ban lifted

Ennis Circuit Court was told the ban would put Alan O’Callaghan’s fuel enterprise out of business.

Councillor Alan O'Callaghan
Councillor Alan O'Callaghan

A FIANNA FÁIL councillor who falsely nominated another driver in a speeding case has had his one-year driving ban lifted on appeal.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Tom O’Donnell lifted the one-year driving ban after hearing that, if the ban stays, it would put Alan O’Callaghan’s fuel enterprise out of business.

Speaking about the offence, Judge O’Donnell said: “This was a deliberate act of nominating somebody who wasn’t driving a car and then he pleads guilty to the particular offence.”

At Ennis District Court last November, O’Callaghan was excoriated by Judge Patrick Durcan who said that the east Clare man “has wriggled like a worm at the end of a hook” and told “a pack of lies” concerning the road prosecution.

Judge Durcan said that O’Callaghan, 41, engaged in “a common scam” and showed nothing but contempt for the system when faced with a Fixed Charge Penalty Notice prosecution.

After the District Court hearing, O’Callaghan said he took a dim view of what Judge Durcan had to say, stating that he “100% absolutely denies” the judge’s comment that he was involved in a scam and pointed out that he never got any penalty points before.

Paul Roche

In the case, O’Callaghan pleaded guilty to making a false nomination of a driver when he was caught speeding in his 06 registered BMW X5 jeep. He was doing 75kmph in a 50kmph zone on 1 June 2016 at Dough, Lahinch.

O’Callaghan notified gardaí that “a Paul Roche from the Republic of Nigeria” was driving his BMW when O’Callaghan was accused of speeding.

The solicitor acting for the State, Aisling Casey, told Ennis Circuit Court today that this explanation “rang alarm bells at Templemore and the matter was investigated”.

Casey said O’Callaghan was interviewed by a garda where he was shown a blown up photo of him driving on the date at Dough.

Explaining why O’Callaghan had nominated Roche, Casey said O’Callaghan told gardaí Roche was sure he was the driver and he gave O’Callaghan a copy of his driving licence for paying the fine.

Casey said O’Callaghan explained further that Roche had been buying a site in Lahinch and O’Callaghan loaned him his vehicle to go up and down to Lahinch and that is why O’Callaghan thought that Roche was driving the car at the time.

O’Callaghan’s solicitor, Stiofán Fitzpatrick, told the court today that, at the time, O’Callaghan honestly believed Roche was the driver of the car.

Fitzpatrick said Roche is originally from Limerick and was using O’Callaghan’s car while here. He said O’Callaghan is a publican and also requires a specific licence to carry out his fuel business.

The solicitor said the loss of his licence would have significant adverse consequences for O’Callaghan.

The loss of his licence means loss of his business – he is the sole operator.

Fitzpatrick said O’Callaghan is the father of a young child and he and his wife have another child on the way.

In court today, Judge O’Donnell said he was lifting the driving ban as O’Callaghan has no previous convictions and, when interviewed by gardaí, he owned up and paid the fine.

Fitzpatrick said his client has no issue with paying the fine and Judge O’Donnell said the €750 fine would remain in place.

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Gordon Deegan

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