Johnny Buckley coach firm convicted over drivers' time
A coach company employing Kerry footballer Johnny Buckley has been convicted on 10 counts in relation to tacographs and the organisation of drivers' time.
Kerry Coaches Ltd of Woodlands Industrial Estate, Killarney, had originally been summonsed by the Road Safety Authority over 22 allegations.
But State Solicitor Ed O'Sullivan Sullivan told Killarney District Court that 12 of the summonses were being withdrawn.
All Ireland-winning footballer Johnny Buckley, who is described on company literature as the chief operations manager with Kerry Coaches, was in court at the rear of the solicitors' benches yesterday,
The court heard from defence solicitor Eoin Brosnan that the company was an important local employer and had a clean record.
Mr Brosnan, himself a former Kerry senior footballer, also said the regulations were designed for heavy goods vehicles, not for tourist coaches.
The company was pleading to the breaches of transport legislation dealing with road transport, working and road safety regulations.
His client had no previous convictions, employed 60 people and had employed 13 extra staff to ensure proper compliance.
RSA Officer Jim Fleming who conducted the investigation gave evidence of visiting the company premises on February 19, 2014.
Mr Fleming said that in the June-July period of 2013, one company driver had worked for 44 consecutive days without the requisite rest period. A second driver on a date beginning in August had worked for 27 days, again without the required rest periods under the legislation.
Other offences related to operating a bus without records available for inspection and there were periods of five to six hours where a small number of vehicles had been without drivers' cards.
The State solicitor said that the penalties were €5,000 on each charge and the court had full discretion.
Judge James O'Connor convicted on the 10 summonses and imposed fines totalling €450 on two, taking the other counts into consideration.
"This company has an exemplary record. The regulations are difficult," the judge said.