Man charged with theft of car as child sat on back seat
A man has been charged in relation to the robbery of a car which had a young child on the back seat.
The incident happened on Saturday at about 6.30pm when an Opel Zaifira was stolen near The Diamond Cafe in Belturbet, Co Cavan.
A 10-year-old girl was on the back seat. She was eventually found by gardaí, unharmed, around six kilometres away.
Patrick Graham (34), with an address in Belturbet, Co Cavan, was charged with the unauthorised taking of a vehicle on July 30.
He appeared before a special sitting of Cavan District Court on Sunday evening, where he was also charged with a number of road-traffic offences.
As well as the car theft, he is accused of drink-driving offences and driving a vehicle with no insurance.
The vehicle was later found in the Clones area of Co Monaghan and was examined by officers from the garda forensics bureau.
Mr Graham was arrested by officers attached to Monaghan garda station and questioned in relation to the incident.
He was charged on Sunday and appeared before the special district court sitting that evening.
The presiding judge has ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the defendant, who will appear before Harristown District Court this Friday.
Separately, the Garda National Traffic Bureau launched a 72-hour road safety blitz over the weekend, following a week of carnage on Irish roads.
On Friday evening alone, the Dublin Traffic Corps tested 856 drivers at 11 mandatory alcohol-testing checkpoints across the city
One driver was arrested for drink-driving and five vehicles were seized.
Superintendent Aidan Reid, of the Garda National Traffic Bureau, said that drink drivers remained a key area of concern and were being specifically targeted.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that gardaí hit drivers with nearly a thousand traffic prosecutions every day.
Figures for 2015 also showed that 623,318 drivers had penalty points at the end of last month, of whom around 17,000 had seven or more points and so were on the verge of a six-month disqualification.
Last week, garda speed camera vans were parked at spots on some of the biggest 'catch' points, including the M4, where the motorway speed limit falls suddenly from 120kmh to 80kmh at Lucan, Co Dublin.
Speeding is the main factor in most fatal accidents and last week's nine deaths included seven people in their 20s, who were killed on country roads, as well as two men in their 30s and 40s.
Road Safety Authority chairperson Liz O'Donnell has appealed to Transport Minister Shane Ross for his support on adequate resourcing of visible policing.
She said: "We do need more visible policing and we discussed this at length with the minister this week.
"We need his support to get the resources for road policing back up there."
Some 597 people have been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving since the beginning of July.