Saturday 17 August 2019

Speeding councillor 'told lies' and 'showed contempt' for the law

Alan O’Callaghan was banned. Photo: Clare County Council website
Alan O’Callaghan was banned. Photo: Clare County Council website

Gordon Deegan

A judge told a court yesterday that a Fianna Fáil councillor "has wriggled like a worm at the end of a hook" and told "a pack of lies" concerning a road prosecution.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan said that Alan O'Callaghan engaged in "a common scam" and showed nothing but contempt for the system when faced with a fixed-charge penalty notice (FCPN) prosecution.

In the case, O'Callaghan, a member of Clare County Council and current Cathaoirleach of the Killaloe electoral area, yesterday changed his plea to guilty to making a false nomination of a driver caught speeding.

In evidence, Garda Seamus Gleeson said that after O'Callaghan received the FCPN for speeding, O'Callaghan notified gardaí that "a Paul Roche from the Republic of Nigeria" was driving his 06 registered BMW X5 jeep when he was accused of speeding on June 1, 2016, at Dough, Lahinch, Co Clare.

Garda Gleeson told the court that the nomination attracted the interest of the investigation unit and it found that O'Callaghan was driving after a blown-up photo of him driving the vehicle on the day was produced.

Garda Gleeson said that he subsequently met with O'Callaghan (41) and showed him the photo to prove that he was driving.

He was driving at a speed of 76kmh in a 50kmh zone on the date in question.

A member of the Clare Joint Policing Committee, O'Callaghan paid the speeding fine but was subsequently charged with making a false nomination. His role as a councillor was not revealed to the court yesterday and at the outset, O'Callaghan of Rosroe, Kilmurry, Sixmilebridge, said he was contesting the case but then changed his plea to guilty midway through.

Judge Durcan banned O'Callaghan from driving for one year and imposed a €750 fine. He said that O'Callaghan "has shown nothing but contempt for the system". He added: "Mr O'Callaghan has wriggled like a worm at the end of a hook until confronted with the reality."

Judge Durcan told O'Callaghan's solicitor, Stiofán Fitzpatrick, that his client has "told a pack of lies".

Mr Fitzpatrick said: "Mr O'Callaghan's instruction to me is this was his honest belief at the time when he filled out the nomination that he wasn't the driver." Judge Durcan said he didn't believe a word that O'Callaghan had instructed in relation to the matter.

Speaking outside court case, O'Callaghan said he will be appealing to the Circuit Court.

Irish Independent

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