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Judge says Fianna Fáil councillor 'wriggled like a worm at the end of a hook' and told 'a pack of lies'

Alan O’Callaghan was faced with a fixed charge penalty notice prosecution.

Alan O'Callaghan
Alan O'Callaghan
Image: http://www.clarecoco.ie

A JUDGE TOLD a court today that a Fianna Fáil councillor “has wriggled like a worm at the end of a hook” and told “a pack of lies” concerning a road prosecution.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan said that Alan O’Callaghan engaged in “a common scam” and showed nothing but contempt for the system when faced with a fixed charge penalty notice prosecution.

In the case, member of Clare County Council and current cathaoirleach of the Killaloe (east Clare) electoral area, Alan O’Callaghan today changed his plea from not guilty to guilty to making a false nomination of a driver caught speeding.

In evidence, Garda Seamus Gleeson said that after O’Callaghan received the fixed charge for speeding, O’Callaghan notified Gardai that “a Paul Roche from the Republic of Nigeria” was driving his 06 registered BMW X5 jeep when O’Callaghan was accused of speeding on 1 June 2016 at Dough, Lahinch.

Garda Gleeson told the court that O’Callaghan’s nomination attracted the interest of the investigation unit and it found that O’Callaghan was driving the vehicle on the day after producing a blown up photo of O’Callaghan driving.

Gleeson said that he subsequently met with O’Callaghan and showed him the blown up photo to show that he was driving.

A member of the Clare Joint Policing Committee (JPC), O’Callaghan paid the speeding fine but was subsequently charged with making a false nomination.

O’Callaghan’s councillor role was not revealed to the court today and at the outset, O’Callaghan of Rosroe, Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge, was contesting the case but then changed his plea to guilty midway through the case.

Driving ban

In the case, Judge Durcan banned O’Callaghan from driving for one year and imposed a €750 fine.

He said that O’Callaghan “has shown nothing but contempt for the system”.

He said: #

Mr O’Callaghan has wriggled like a worm at the end of a hook until basically confronted in this court with the reality.

Judge Durcan said:

“Basically he was engaged in what is becoming a common scam to get out of having to pay and deal with a Fixed Charge Penalty Notice.

Let’s call a spade a spade and forget about shovels. That is what this is all about – ‘nominate a friend from Nigeria and drive off’ – but he was caught.

Judge Durcan told O’Callaghan’s solicitor, Stiofán Fitzpatrick that his client has “told a pack of lies”.

Fitzpatrick said that O’Callaghan’s “friend, Mr Roche was present and using his vehicle at the time. O’Callaghan spoke to his friend and his friend said “I was driving the vehicle on that day” and O’Callaghan filled out the nomination and furnished all relevant details”.

“Honest belief”

Mr Fitzpatrick said:

Mr O’Callaghan’s instruction to me that is this was his honest belief at the time when he filled out the nomination that he wasn’t the driver.

In response, Judge Durcan said that he doesn’t believe a word that Alan O’Callaghan has instructed in relation to the matter.

Judge Durcan said he was “satisfied that he engaged in this scam in regard to the Fixed Charge Penalty Notice system and his approach is nothing short of contemptible”.

Fitzpatrick said that his client drives for a living and has his own fuel delivery business and also operates a pub.

Speaking outside court after the case, a clearly shaken O’Callaghan confirmed that will be appealing to the circuit court.

O’Callaghan said that he “100% absolutely denies” the judge’s comment that he was involved in a scam.

He said he it “hurtful”.

“I felt very hurt to be honest about it. That is that is not the way I am about. That isn’t the way I would be working,” he said.

I never even got penalty points before. I have no other road traffic offence.

O’Callaghan said that it was his honest belief at the time that it was his friend who was driving the jeep. He said that Mr Roche wired him over the money to pay the speeding fine.

O’Callaghan said that Roche was over for 10 days and doing work in Lahinch.

O’Callaghan said that if he loses his driving licence, he will lose his livelihood.

Read: Fugitive murderer who escaped from Derry prison is arrested in Dublin, then released

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Gordon Deegan

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