Haulier faces huge bill and court fine after oversized load of straw closed Limerick Tunnel for three days
A haulage contractor who caused more than €100,000 worth of damage and who forced the closure of the Limerick Tunnel for three days has been fined €5,000.
Tim Walsh, aged 58, of Kilruane, Nenagh had pleaded guilty to an offence under Section 138 of the Railway Safety Act relating to an incident on September 11, 2016.
During a sentencing hearing in November, Sergeant Cathal O’Neill said Mr Walsh was transporting a load of straw to Crusheen, County Clare which was five metres in height – 35 centimetres above the maximum height allowed in the Limerick Tunnel.
He said the defendant, who travelled around 100m into the tunnel, would have been “confronted by a considerable amount of signage” as he approached the Limerick Tunnel alerting him to his oversized load.
“There were flashing signs informing the driver to divert, he chose to ignore those signs,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
There were lengthy delays and major disruption to traffic following the incident with thousands of cars being diverted through the city.
Around €115,000 in damage was caused inside the tunnel and the operator of Limerick Tunnel had to pay more than €100,000 in penalties associated with the closure.
During interview Mr Walsh, who has a number of convictions under the Road Traffic Act, told gardai he had never used the Limerick Tunnel previously and assumed it was the same height as motorway bridges.