A MIDDLE-AGED man caught drink-driving a staggering 26 times in the past four years defied a driving ban imposed by the court on each occasion.
He is one of almost 150 other motorists nabbed at least 10 times for drink driving since 2008, gardai have revealed.
The worst offender, who cannot be named because he currently has a raft of criminal charges against him in the courts, is Irish.
The Irish Independent learnt last night that the man has had 1,100 criminal charges brought against him. Many of them have already been determined in the courts but many of the cases have yet to be heard.
He has been convicted of 44 drink-driving offences in eight years and 26 in four years.
The man has had a number of addresses in the past and moves around the country regularly, making it more difficult for gardai to track him.
More than one-in-10 motorists caught drink driving over the past four years were caught re-offending more than once, an official garda report discloses.
Over 300 drivers were drunk behind the wheel at least four times between 2008 and the start of this month, according to the report on recidivist drink drivers released at garda traffic headquarters in Dublin Castle.
An analysis of 61,874 drink-driving offences over the four-year period from 2008 until the start of this month found that while 48,202 drivers had committed just one offence, the remainder were repeat offenders.
An alarming 10.8pc re-offended, with 63 motorists caught more than six times.
Garda assistant commissioner Gerard Phillips said: "There is a cohort of people who refuse to respect other road users, and are repeatedly arrested for drink driving."
The driver who was the worst offender was banned from driving on each occasion, but defied the ban every time and continued to drive before being caught again.
The report also reveals:
• Five offenders committed 10 more drink-drive offences during the period.
• A further 145 were linked to between five and nine detections.
• A total of 63 had six or more offences.
• 87 were arrested five times.
• 249 motorists were arrested four times, 873 three times, and 4,580 twice.
Irish drivers accounted for 9,597 of all repeat drink-drive offenders caught by gardai and convicted, followed by Polish (1,019), Lithuanians (1,012) and Latvians (511).
The number of drink-driving offences has more than halved in four years. But there is concern that a significant number of cases involved male drivers aged 23-32.
Many of these were caught with more than twice the 50mg legal alcohol limit, driving late at night or early in the morning.
Half of male drink-drivers aged 38-47 had more than three times the new alcohol limit.
While the number of checkpoints has risen by 3pc, there has been a steady drop in the numbers arrested for drink-driving – down from 19,848 during the same period in 2008 to 8,747 at the start of this month.
Gardai mounted 66,000 checkpoints last year with 450,000 people being breathalysed. New lower drink-drive limits were introduced in Ireland on October 28 last year, down from 80mg to 50mg.