Monday 22 October 2018

Banned O'Shea backs morning breath checks

Jason O'Brien

Jason O'Brien

RTE presenter Joe O'Shea said yesterday he supports random breath checks in the morning - despite being the first high-profile person to be banned following the garda clampdown.

Mr O'Shea (36) was stopped at Stradbally in Co Laois at 9.30am on September 4 as he made his way home to Dublin from the Electric Picnic festival.

Despite sleeping for about seven hours the previous night, his breath registered 58 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The limit is just over 35 micrograms.

A survey of 85 TDs conducted last week found that 34, or 40pc, wanted an end to the morning checks, and the group opposing the checks is said to include two Cabinet ministers.

But Mr O'Shea, who co-presents the afternoon show on RTE television with Grainne Seoige, said he had taken a keen interest in the debate because of his personal circumstances, and supported the checks.

"This thing about the morning after, everyone's talking about it and people are saying it's unfair," he said.

"I have to say, "I don't think it's unfair. I think if you're over the limit you're over the limit.

"It's something that we maybe haven't been conscious about in the past, I certainly wasn't but I certainly am now."

Mr O'Shea, of Palmerstown Park in Rathmines, entered a guilty plea at Portlaoise District Court last Friday, and Judge Mary Martin banned him from driving for a year.

Mr O'Shea, who was also driving without a valid tax certificate, was fined and had the conviction endorsed on his licence.

Mr O'Shea, working as a journalist at the festival, said he had started drinking at about six on the Sunday evening and "drank too much and stayed up late" on the Sunday evening.

His solicitor said he had not been planning to go back to Dublin too early but an offer of work persuaded him to go on the road shortly after he woke up.

"If I'd stopped to think about it, and I should have, I would have realised that I probably was over the limit," Mr O'Shea said yesterday.

He was driving alone about one mile from the festival site when he was stopped and breathalysed. A second test at the Garda station confirmed that he was over the limit.

The star confirmed yesterday he told RTE bosses about the case when he auditioned for his presenting job last year.

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