A Westmeath Traveller who rammed garda cars during a high speed car chase across Dublin and into rural Wicklow has been jailed for three and a half years.
Eoin Maughan (37) of Dalton Park, Mullingar pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment, dangerous driving and criminal damage of a garda patrol car at Brittas village on November 21, 2013.
He has a previous conviction in Northern Ireland for robbery, possession of a firearm and an assault on police relating to an incident in Co. Armagh dated May 15, 2009.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended the last 18 months of a five year prison term and banned Maughan from driving for six years. She backdated the sentence to November 2013 when he was arrested.
Garda Ronan Harris told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that he was on patrol in the Fortunestown area of Tallaght on the night when he saw a grey Laguna pulling out of the car park of Molly Heffernan’s pub. The car went around a roundabout at speed and failed to stop when the gardai signalled for it to pull over.
During the high speed garda pursuit that followed the car, driven by Maughan, drove the wrong way around roundabout, overtook a car on a blind bend on a single white line and also overtook a car on the wrong side of the road.
Maughan drove the car into Brittas village, Co Wicklow and pulled up at the gate of a house and two back passengers got out. Maughan then tried to ram the garda car and the car had to swerve to avoid the collision.
At this point the car was being followed from above by the garda air support unit helicopter. It drove through Brittas village and stopped outside Kilsaran Quarry before reversing at speed at the patrol car.
Maughan then drove towards the waterworks at Bohernabreena where gardai had set up a cordon on either side of the bridge in order to trap the car.
When gardai got out and walked to the car, Maughan drove at them and then reserved at speed, crashing through a stone wall to try to get away.
He drove back towards Brittas village and on to the N81 Blessington Road and towards Glenhest, Co Wicklow. Maughan tried to ram garda patrol cars on the N81 before the chase finally came to an end and gardai arrested him.
He became aggressive while being questioned at the station and gardai pepper sprayed him after he broke an interview table in anger. After this Maughan punched the garda in the back of the head.
He later apologised for his behaviour on the night, saying: "I’m sorry for what I did, I wasn’t in the right state of mind“.
The court heard that the total cost of the damage caused to the garda vehicles was €10,874. Gardai suffered whiplash and facial injuries and one garda had to undergo surgery.
Maughan has 29 previous convictions including one for having no insurance at Mullingar district court. He received a six year driving ban on February 19, 2014 at Blanchardstown District Court for a road traffic offence.
Pieter LeVert BL, defending, said his client is a married man. He said Maughan cannot remember his actions on the night and became upset when he was confronted with them.
He is a member of the Travelling Community from a large family of ten. Counsel said that as a child Maughan witnessed his mother suffering violence at the hands of his father and at the age of 14 he was put on to the streets to beg.