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Man who fled checkpoint jailed following 'litany of episodes of reckless and dangerous driving'

John McDonagh took off at speed at a garda checkpoint in Dublin last year.

File photo
File photo
Image: PA Images

A FATHER-OF-FOUR who fled a garda checkpoint while driving drunk, leading to “a litany of episodes of reckless and dangerous driving”, has been jailed for 20 months.

John McDonagh (30), of Labre Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment at several locations in Co Dublin and Co Meath on 27 July 27 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to drink-driving and driving without insurance at Kilmore Road, Ballyfermot, on the same date last July. He has 27 previous convictions in Ireland and the UK.

Garda Erica Delaney told Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question gardaí were performing an alcohol checkpoint on Kilmore Road.

Delaney said McDonagh was signalled to pull over by gardaí. McDonagh mounted the footpath at a slow speed and appeared to be about to stop, before he took off at speed.

While being pursued by gardaí, McDonagh overtook other road users dangerously and drove the wrong way around a roundabout. While driving on the M50 and M1 motorways he undertook and overtook a number of cars, the court heard.

The incident came to an end when McDonagh pulled over and was arrested. He was found to be over the legal alcohol limit and had been driving without insurance.

Family difficulties

Delaney agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that his client seemed to be snorting a white powder when gardaí approached and that there was an open bottle of beer inside his car. She agreed that he apologised while being arrested.

Le Vert said his client’s father was frequently incarcerated during McDonagh’s childhood and was physically abusive to his sons. He said that following the death of his client’s mother, his father took the money the family had raised to pay for her funeral.

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Counsel said his client’s partner was in court and that they have four children together. He said that at the time of the offence, McDonagh had been put out of the house and was effectively living in his car.

Judge Martin Nolan described the offences as “a litany of episodes of reckless and dangerous driving”. He said McDonagh endangered and terrified other road users.

Judge Nolan yesterday sentenced McDonagh to three years in prison, but suspended the final 16 months of the sentence on strict conditions. He also suspended McDonagh from driving for four years.

About the author:

Brion Hoban

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