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Teen soldier's career over after he is jailed

A YOUNG soldier has been jailed for three months and is facing the end of his military career after being convicted for driving without insurance for the fourth time.

Father-of-one Gary McQuillan (19), a three-star private in the Defence Forces was sentenced after a court heard he had already been detained at Dublin Airport and returned to the Army for disciplinary action for being absent without leave.

Judge Catherine Murphy said she had no choice but to sentence him on third and fourth convictions for uninsured driving.

Dublin District Court heard his conduct was rated "fair" but a prison sentence would "effectively end his involvement in the defence forces". McQuillan, of Moyclare Park, Baldoyle, was before the court on two counts of uninsured driving in north Dublin last year. The case had been heard previously and was back before Judge Murphy for a probation report.

Apart from the criminal case against him, McQuillan had been facing disciplinary procedures for being AWOL for 107 days over three occasions.



GIRLFRIEND

The prosecuting garda said the accused had not returned to the Army of his own free will but had come to the attention of the airport police and was returned to the defence forces on a military warrant.

He was fined 107 days' pay.

Barrister Enda O'Neill said McQuillan's "destructive behaviour" followed a "particularly unfortunate run of events" in the space of a year. He was also unhappy with the duties he was able to do in the army following a serious accident and injury.

Mr O'Neill asked the judge to consider imposing a community service order and pointed out that the accused had taken part in boxing in Baldoyle.

"I don't see any way not to impose a custodial sentence," Judge Murphy said. "I don't see anything in his behaviour since then that allows me not to impose a custodial sentence."

The court heard previously he went AWOL because his "head was all over the place" following a row with his girlfriend.

He had been due to serve in Kosovo, but that had to be cancelled because he was involved in a motorcycle accident and broke bones in his back.

aphelan@herald.ie


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