She drove school bus without insurance
PADRAIG FLYNN'S daughter Audrey was threatened with jail yesterday for driving a school bus without insurance.Judge Mary Devin said she was ``appalled'' by Ms Flynn's behaviour but would suspend sentencing until next month.
The judge heard that Ms Flynn had been transporting up to 18 schoolchildren in the bus for over a month without insurance.
Judge Devin said it was reprehensible to use a public vehicle without insurance. It was ``criminal'' and ``lethal''.
Ms Flynn, the second eldest of the former EU commissioner's four children, appeared with her partner Mark Winters at Castlebar Court.
They both gave their address as Manor Village, Castlebar.
Mr Winters was summoned on charges relating to September 21 and 25 and October 5, 1998 for having no tax, no tax displayed, no insurance, no driving licence, no certificate of road worthiness and failing to produce.
Flynn was summoned on charges relating to September 16, 21, 25 and October 5, 6, 7, 8 and 14, 1998.
The charges include no tax, tax not displayed, no insurance, no driving licence, no PSV licence, no certificate of road worthiness, failing to produce documents, two charges of making a false declaration to obtain insurance and also a charge of making a false declaration to obtain a licence.
Pat Moran, the defending solicitor, explained that the couple had attempted to get into the public service transport business.
They did not have the appropriate D1 drivers licence which both had to have to secure valid insurance for carriage for reward.
Mr Moran said they were ill advised and ill prepared for the public service transport business.
They engaged in driving for reward and did not have the appropriate documentation in place at the time.
Through ``stupidity'' and ``ignorance'' they went through the process without putting in place the appropriate licensing and insurance.
Mr Moran said the defendants were no longer in the business and neither had been before the court before.
The process had been undertaken through ignorance rather than criminality. The defendants were young people with a 10-week-old baby.
He said the business was gone and they appreciated the consequences in terms of a period of disqualification. There was no criminal intent.
Inspector Jerry Henry said that on September 10 Audrey Flynn called to a local insurance company seeking a quote for cover.
On September 29 she obtained from Mayo County Council tax office a letter giving details of the driving licence she held which did not include the category D1.
Inspector Henry told the court that Ms Flynn typed or got someone to type a new letter. She gave the letter containing the D1 category to the insurance company and got cover.
On foot of that she called to the garda station producing the cover from the local insurance agent and as a result of that a certificate for the PSV licence was issued.
The inspector said the letter from the tax office produced by Ms Flynn was brought back to the office where the issuing officer said it was not a letter she gave and it was not her signature on the letter.
Inspector Henry said he had the original letter from the tax office and the second letter which showed D1 entered on it.
Mr Moran said the defendant denied altering any letter from the taxation office.
Audrey Flynn told the court the business started a few weeks after school resumed in September 1998.
Basically no inquiries were made before setting it up. She now appreciated the seriousness of the nature of the licensing and insurance that must be in place. At the time she did not realise what was needed.
Ms Flynn told the court she had purchased the bus for £500 a few days before starting the national school run. There was stress and pressure in her life at the time.
Ms Flynn explained when she inquired about insurance she thought she would be covered until she provided the rest of the documents.
Judge Devin said she was horrified to think young children were being carried in an uninsured vehicle for over a month. The defendant had insurance on her car but not for these children.
``I am appalled,'' the judge stated adding that the seriousness of the case was of such a nature that she wanted to think about it.
She adjourned the matter until January for sentencing.