'It was a awful day with snow': Farmer faces €1,000 fine after being stopped driving to feed cattle

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Stock photo

Court Reporter

A 49-year-old man who pleaded guilty at Sligo District Court to no insurance told Judge Kevin Kilrane he was using the tractor to bring meal and hay to his cattle on what he described as an ‘awful day with snow’.

The Sligo Champion reports that Damien Sweeney, with an address at Kilglass, Enniscrone, was charged with no insurance at Kilglass, Enniscrone on October 1st 2017.

Further charges of failure to produce a driver’s licence and failure to produce insurance were struck out by the judge.

Inspector Paul Kilcoyne told the court that Sweeney had 20 previous convictions including endangerment with an mpv in 2013 at Sligo District Court and he was disqualified for 20 years from driving and was also imprisoned for 8 months.

Garda Sean Campbell told the court that on October 1st 2017 at 5:35pm at Kilglass he stopped a Ford tractor that Sweeney was driving and asked him to produce insurance and his driver’s licence.

The judge asked Garda Campbell if he had given any explanation as to why he was driving and Garda Campbell said he was feeding cattle over in the field.

Defending solicitor Mr Peter Loftus told the court his client had a small holding in the Kilglass area that was separated by road.

He had another bigger farm adjacent to his house and yard, he said. Mr Loftus told the judge that on the day in question his client had a number of cattle on the outfarm that required attention and that was why he was driving the tractor. He admitted his history in relation to driving was not good.

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Sweeney told the judge he was a single man in receipt of farm assistance. Mr Loftus asked him if he was aware that driving without insurance while having a lengthy disqualification could mean a spell in custody and he said he did.

Sweeney said he was bringing meal and hay to his cattle and when the judge asked how he manages normally he replied that he has a fellow that helps him out.

The judge said there were aggravating factors and ‘very minor’ mitigating factors.

He said Sweeney had a shocking record with 20 previous convictions including endangerment with an mpv and 8 months imprisonment.

He said he was disqualified for a lengthy period of time and was still driving without insurance. Judge Kilrane said the mitigating factors were that his last conviction was in 2013.

“The slight mitigating factor it appears he has been out of trouble since 2012.” He asked if Sweeney could possibly let the outfarm.

He told Mr Lotus that he was considering a fine and adjourned the case until July 5th.

He said that if Sweeney had €1000 in court he might consider a suspended sentence and a disqualification.

Sligo Champion

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