independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Obama's eighth cousin Henry Healy pleads guilty to careless driving leading to a crash

President Barack Obama visits the Dubliner, an Irish pub in Washington, D.C., with his Irish cousin, Henry Healy on March 17, 2012
President Barack Obama visits the Dubliner, an Irish pub in Washington, D.C., with his Irish cousin, Henry Healy on March 17, 2012

Barack Obama’s eighth cousin, Henry Healy, has escaped without a blemish on his record in spite of causing a road crash last May.

At Ennis District Court, the 29-year old escaped without any conviction after Judge Patrick Duran noted that the Moneygall man "has an impeccable record of service to the State”.

In court, Mr Healy - known as Henry the Eight through his connection with President Obama - pleaded guilty to careless driving that led to a road crash at Shraheen, Clooney outside Ennis at 7pm on May 8th last.

Outlining the facts, Insp Tom Kennedy said that Mr Healy was involved in the two car collison “after he suffered a momentary lapse in concentration and his car veered off his line and over to the path of the oncoming car

Insp Kennedy said: “The two cars didn’t hit head on, they hit sideways and there was a collision.”

In his evidence, Garda Brian O’Callaghan said that Mr Healy's car “travelled quite a distance down the road on impact”.

Garda O’Callaghan said that the driver of the other car, Teresa Guinanne “knew there was going to be an impact and braced herself for it”

Garda O’Callaghan said that Mr Healy “has no recollection of the accident itself and was very apolegetic. He has a clean record”.

The two injured parties were both taken to hospital and Garda O’Callaghan said: “We were worried that Mr Healy had head injuries at the time and thank God everything was okay.”

Garda O’Callaghan said that “Mr Healy wasn’t speeding, but it was just he had a momentary loss of control that caused the impact. Both suffered injuries in the accident, but thankfully, nothing serious.”

Garda O’Callaghan said that there was no allegation against Mr Healy’s driving prior to the accident.

Mr Healy did sustain minor head injuries in the crash, while Ms Guinnane sustained a broken bone in her foot and upper body soreness. There was extensive damage to Mr Healy's 12 D Renault Megane and Ms Guinnane's Nissan Almera.

Solicitor for Mr Healy, Michael Collins said that the accident took place on a notorious stretch of road where there has been a number of accidents. He said: “My client is 29 years old and has never had as much as a parking ticket or speeding fine in his life. He has never been in court for anything in his life before.”

Mr Collins said that Mr Healy is working in tourism development and is playing a key role nationally and internationally.

Mr Collins said that Moneygall in an internationally recognised part of Ireland through Mr Healy.

In response, Judge Durcan said that US President, Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle have visited Moneygall.

Mr Collins said that he hoped that Mr Healy would not have anything on his record and proposed a donation to the court poor box.

Addressing Insp Kennedy on the accident, Judge Durcan said: “This is one of these matters that can happen."

“This is a man 29 years of age, he has an impeccable record in terms of road traffic and clearly has an impeccable record of service to the State.”

Addressing Mr Collins, Judge Durcan said: “We must punish someone without criminalising them and I suggest €500 to the Poor Box and strike out the charge.”

Judge Durcan said to Mr Healy: “Best of luck to you. I had the experience you encountered on the road myself in the past.”

Mr Collins paid the money in cash over to the court before leaving the courtroom with Mr Healy.

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