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L-driver fined €150 for accident that crushed Joe's leg

This is the learner driver who hit RTE presenter Joe Duffy, breaking his leg.

Mary Kate McDonagh was fined €150 after being convicted of motoring offences, the Herald can reveal.

Duffy was left in pain for a year following the accident on Pearse Street while he was taking books from his car.

The popular broadcaster spent months on crutches and still has difficulty walking.

He is still undergoing treatment and is facing the prospect of a further operation in the coming weeks.

Learner driver McDonagh (21) was found guilty of driving without reasonable consideration in the incident in which she struck the Liveline presenter last April.

Ms McDonagh, of nearby Pearse House, Dublin 2, was found guilty of driving without reasonable consideration on April 9, 2009.

She was fined for that offence, while Judge Brendan Toal took into consideration another charge -- driving on a provisional licence but without being accompanied by a qualified driver.

Her case was heard at Dublin District Court this week. Garda Donal O'Neill, of Harcourt Terrace Garda Station, was the prosecuting officer.

Babysitter

When approached by the Herald to comment, McDonagh denied all knowledge of the accident and court case.

She claimed to be "the babysitter", and said "Mary Kate McDonagh lives here, but she's out". She added that she "probably doesn't want to say anything".

She repeated this claim on two separate occasions and declined to contact the Herald at a phone number provided.

Duffy spent months on crutches after undergoing a three-hour operation last April to repair crush-like injuries to his leg following the accident.

The radio broadcaster spent last Easter weekend in hospital recuperating after the emergency surgery which involved inserting a steel rod in his right leg, which was broken in two places. At the time, he said he was in "complete shock".

Duffy explained he was struck by a car that was being parked as he took library books from his own car on Pearse Street.

The veteran broadcaster, who was on his way to host his show, was reaching into the boot when a driver manoeuvred into the space behind him. However, the driver overshot the parking spot and struck his leg, he said.

"I didn't see her at all," he explained. "My leg went the wrong way. I knew it was a bad, bad break."

As he lay on the street, a passing doctor rushed to his aid and provided pain relief.

"The doctor was great. I didn't get his name but I'd like to thank him and the ambulance," Mr Duffy said.

Despite the pain, Duffy said his first thoughts were for his programme and his listeners -- he immediately rang RTE to tell them he wouldn't be able to host his show.

At the time, Joe Duffy's predecessor and close colleague Gay Byrne described it as the "most awful thing to have happened".

Duffy is expected to require further surgery. Surgeons intend to operate on his leg to remove a titanium rod that extends from his knee to his ankle.

He is also undergoing regular ultrasound treatment.

"It is really painful. But they tell me that the more painful it is, the more effective the treatment is," he said recently.

Losses

The operation could see the father-of-three out of action for weeks as he recuperates.

"One of my biggest losses is not being able to walk with the children," said Joe. "I've got to be really careful on the icy ground. I just can't fall again."

And he quipped: "If I do fall down I'll need a panel-beater because there's so much metal in my leg.

"I can't walk any distance because it's so painful. I can stand and I can drive, no problem."

hnews@herald.ie


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