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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 20 January, 2019

Driving ban 'would be exceptionally disastrous' for former TD Michael McNamara

He is allowed remain on the road pending his appeal hearing.

Image: Labour via Flickr/CC

FORMER LABOUR TD for Clare, Michael McNamara, today confirmed that he will be appealing his two-year driving ban for dangerous driving.

McNamara (43) can remain on the road pending his appeal hearing at Ennis Circuit Court later this year.

At Ennis District Court on Tuesday, Judge John King convicted McNamara of dangerous driving, which comes with an automatic two-year ban, at Tobernagath, Scarriff in east Clare on 10 December 2016.

Counsel for McNamara, Martin Dully BL told the court that a driving ban for McNamara “will be exceptionally disastrous for this man”.

Judge King dismissed an accompanying charge against McNamara that he had obstructed a garda in the course of his duties on the same date outside his home.

Judge King said that it would “unfair and unsafe” to convict McNamara of the obstruction charge.

Pepper sprayed

During the incident, Garda Darren McLoughlin pepper-sprayed the east Clare man.

In evidence, McNamara told the court that he was “utterly and completely shocked” when pepper-sprayed.

McNamara said that “my eyes were burning out of my head” after being pepper-sprayed shortly after 2.10am on the night.

Garda McLoughlin said that he pepper-sprayed McNamara during his third attempt to evade custody as he tried to open his front door. This was strongly denied by McNamara who offered a conflicting account of what occurred.

Media coverage

In evidence, McNamara also hit out at details of him being pepper-sprayed making front page news only days after the incident took place in December 2016.

In court, McNamara said that a journalist turned up at the door of his home with a list of questions that “could only have come from Garda information” the Friday after the incident occurred.

McNamara said that he wasn’t happy to wake up on St Stephen’s Day 2016 to see details of the pepper spray incident on the front page of a national newspaper.

In evidence, McNamara said on the night that he wanted to wash his eyes out after being pepper sprayed but that Garda McLoughlin said ‘no’.

McNamara washed his eyes out after arriving at Killaloe Garda Station at 2.59am on the night.

On the refusal to allow McNamara wash his eyes out, in his evidence, Garda McLoughlin said: “I didn’t want Mr McNamara moving any further away from the patrol car.

He said: “I told him he wasn’t going around the side of the house. I didn’t know what was around the corner and as he had already tried to escape, I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight again.”

He said: “Things had diffused and I wanted to keep it that way.”

Today, McNamara declined to comment further.

Comments have been closed for legal reasons.

Read: ‘My eyes were burning off my head’: Former TD was pepper sprayed after ‘refusing arrest’, court hears>

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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