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'Whistling donkey' leaves court in tears of laughter

A HILARIOUS tale of a busker, bald tyres and a whistling donkey left the presiding judge, gardaí, solicitors and even defendants in tears of laughter in Dingle District Court on Friday as they heard of the unlikely series of events that led to three road traffic charges being brought against a man.

Well known Dingle street entertainer Deaglan Ó Muiris of 7 Cuairt Phiarais, Ballyferriter, became the unintentional source of comic relief at Friday's sitting when Garda Frank Scanlon outlined the scene that greeted him when he stopped the busker for driving with four bald tyres.

Garda Scanlon told the court that having noticed the worn tyres on Mr Ó Muiris's Hiace van, his attention was immediately drawn to the inside of the vehicle, where he saw a donkey looking back at him.

He proceeded to tell Judge James O'connor how the said donkey is part of Mr Ó Muiris's renowned busking act, and is regularly seen with the defendant in Dingle.

When asked by the chuckling judge what the donkey did as part of the act, Garda Scanlon told him he played the tin whistle, causing an outburst of laughter in the courtroom.

Solicitor Pat Mann told the highly entertained judge that his client and his donkey are a regular double act at Dingle pier and that Mr Ó Muiris is 'a very good natured man.' He said that after being stopped by Garda Scanlon, he paid €350 for four new tyres for the van.

Withdrawing one of the charges, Garda Scanlon said he was very familiar with Mr Ó Muiris and had come across him on numerous occasions, adding that he had one previous conviction for drink driving dating back a few years. Mr Mann quickly interjected, telling the court that that offence was for driving his Hiace van, and not his donkey.

Garda Scanlon agreed that the tyres had been replaced, and concluded his evidence by telling the judge that the donkey has been retired for the winter.

The defendant was given until May of next year to pay €300 to the court poor box to avoid a convcition for the bald tyre offences.