Man who stole ambulance 'filled to the gills with drink'
A 22-YEAR-OLD man has been banned from driving for three years and ordered to do community work after pleading guilty to unlawfully taking and drink driving an HSE ambulance.
At Kilrush District Court, Conor Hannon of Sycamore Drive, Rathbane, Limerick, was ordered to complete 100 hours of community work in lieu of a three-month prison term for unlawfully taking the ambulance at Victoria Terrace, Kilkee on May 6.
The court was told that Hannon was armed with a knife described in court by Judge Patrick Durcan as "a lethal weapon".
Garda Conor Flaherty told the court that Mr Hannon got into the ambulance, put on the seatbelt and drove it two feet forward before he was removed by a paramedic.
Garda Flaherty said the ambulance was on an emergency call at 2.30am to deal with a man who had fallen on the footpath.
Garda Flaherty said that the engine was running and the key was in the ignition when a very intoxicated Mr Hannon got into the ambulance and drove it forward.
In court, Judge Durcan described Mr Hannon's behaviour as "appalling".
Judge Durcan said: "Someone who works for the ambulance service does a critically important job and if you turn on your radio and listen to Miriam O'Callaghan, Pat Kenny or better still, 'Joe Duffy in the afternoon', you will hear people without doubt complaining 'the ambulance didn't arrive on time'.
"Into this mix, you have Mr Hannon, filled to the gills with drink and he interferes with the ambulance service."
Michael Ryan acting for Hannon said that his client was "very remorseful" and believes that his drink was spiked.
Mr Ryan said: "At best, he drove the ambulance forward one or two feet. There was no element of violence in the incident and he wasn't drunk or cantankerous."
Mr Ryan said that Mr Hannon put on his seatbelt before driving the ambulance forward. He said: "That is more an indication of his intoxication."
Mr Ryan said: "My client has no memory of the knife," and in reply Judge Durcan said: "That makes it all the worse."
Mr Ryan said that Mr Hannon was single, a student in Limerick studying tourism.
He said: "The saving grace in the case is that we are not standing here today hearing that Hannon was violent or insulting . That isn't part of the equation."
Judge Durcan said: "There is one way and one way only to deal with this and the message has to go out loud and clear."
The judge banned Hannon from driving for three years and fined him €250 for driving the ambulance while under the influence.
Judge Durcan ordered Hannon to carry out 100 hours community work in lieu of three months' prison for the possession of the knife.
Judge Durcan imposed 100 hours of community work in lieu of three months for unlawfully taking the ambulance, with the two sentences to run consecutively.