Tuesday 19 November 2019

I'm only human, says drink drive arrest councillor

Michael Hegarty: expects to face charges.
Michael Hegarty: expects to face charges.

Ralph Riegel

A VETERAN Fine Gael councillor detained by gardai on suspicion of drink driving said last night that he was "only a human being, who never said I was perfect".

Michael Hegarty (51) -- a married father of four -- spoke to the Irish Independent after he resigned from two key positions.

He quit as chairman of the Joint Policing Committee on Cork County Council and as leader of the FG group on the council.

However, he will not resign as a councillor.

"It is a very unfortunate situation. There are two issues. As you can imagine there are legal constraints on me now about what I can and cannot say (in relation to one of them)," he said.

Detained

"But I was uncomfortable -- so I felt it only right and proper to resign both positions on the council. I felt it was the right thing to do," he said.

Mr Hegarty confirmed that he does face a pending Road Traffic Act issue -- but declined to comment about the specifics of the incident for legal reasons.

However, he said he does expect to face a charge in relation to the matter.

The Irish Independent understands that Mr Hegarty was detained on August 21 last at Ballymacoda, not far from his east Cork home, on suspicion of drink driving.

"I am only a human being -- I never said I was perfect. But that is life. I just have to get on with it now and face it," he said.

"But I am a married man with children and I have to get on with looking after them now," he added.

Mr Hegarty was first elected a councillor in 1985 -- and he has no plans to quit his seat.

Taoiseach and party leader Enda Kenny yesterday said there was no excuse for anyone to drink and drive.

Mr Kenny said Mr Hegarty's case was likely to go before the courts so he would make no comment on it.

But he added: "There is no case for anyone in this country to sit behind the wheel of a motor vehicle with alcohol."

Mr Hegarty -- who is an auctioneer by profession -- was also listed last month in Stubbs Gazette as owing €81,823 to the Revenue Commissioners.

Mr Hegarty has since said that he is working on a repayment process with Revenue.

Irish Independent

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