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Hurler cleared of drink-drive as 'hip flask defence' slammed


Former Limerick hurler Mark Foley leaves Limerick District Court with his uncle Jerry Foley

Former Limerick hurler Mark Foley leaves Limerick District Court with his uncle Jerry Foley

Mark Foley in action for Limerick in 2009

Mark Foley in action for Limerick in 2009


A case of drink driving was dismissed against an All-Star hurler after what a judge called a "hip flask" defence was used.

The man's uncle, an ex-garda, admitted supplying him with whiskey after the sports car he was driving had knocked down a pedestrian.

District Court judge Eugene O'Kelly said what was " particularly appalling in this case is that... I don't accept the evidence of the uncle that he is not aware of the hip flask defence."

Whiskey in a cup of coffee was given by the uncle to his nephew "because he wasn't looking well" before he was breathalysed.

The judge criticised former Limerick All Star Mark Foley and his uncle Jerry Foley -- a former garda -- after Foley's defence counsel used the "hip-flask defence".

Judge O'Kelly said he was "gravely concerned there was cuteness and conniving between the uncle and his nephew".

Addressing Foley's solicitor, the judge added: "He (the accused) told a lie to cover his uncle.

"He said he had consumed alcohol four or five hours earlier when he knew he had consumed the whiskey (at the hospital)."

Earlier, Mark Foley admitted not telling investigating gardai that his uncle had given him a miniature bottle of whiskey prior to him providing a breath sample.

"I didn't want anyone else involved. I was being charged with drink driving... I was being breathalysed.

"I knew I had failed (the breath test)," Mark Foley told the court.

Garda Brian O'Leary said he received a call at 3.30am on October 16, 2010 that a man had presented at the Regional Hospital, Limerick, claiming to have knocked down a pedestrian.

At 3.45am, and under caution, Foley (37), of Abbeyview, Adare, Co Limerick, told Garda O'Leary he had been driving at around 2.20am when he hit a man walking along a road near Newcastle West.

Foley told the court the pedestrian "fell out onto the road".

He said he put the man into his Mercedes C 200 car and drove him to hospital.

After failing a roadside breath test outside the hospital, Foley failed a second breath test at Henry Street garda station at 5.18am.

The result showed 37mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, a relatively low reading, the court heard.

Foley, also admitted he may have consumed a glass of wine earlier on the night.


The ex-hurler was convicted in February this year of failing to report the accident to gardai immediately after knocking down the man.

He was banned from driving for 12 months.

Last night Jerry Foley told Limerick District Court he travelled to Limerick Regional Hospital from his home in Ennistymon after Mark had telephoned him asking for his help.

Mr Foley said he gave Mark the whiskey in a cup of coffee because the GAA star "wasn't looking well" and "sick in his stomach".

Judge O'Kelly said he had to accept that the whiskey had put the accused over the limit as the State could not dispute the evidence.

Irish Independent