A driver who was pursued at high speed by Gardaí through the countryside near Thurles, was on temporary release from prison at the time, heard a sitting of Thurles District Court.
Sgt. Declan O’Carroll told Judge Elizabeth MacGrath that while on mobile patrol on July 1 this year, Garda Cathal Naughton observed Patrick Donegan driving near the Horse and Jockey, Thurles, at about 1.5pm. Gardaí activated their blue flashing lights to indicate to Donegan to stop, but he failed to do so. Mr Donegan, of Dunroamin, Turtulla, Thurles, drove at speed to Pouldine, Thurles, and did not stop for a stop sign. Donegan continued driving dangerously at Knockroe, Thurles, including crossing the continuous white line in the middle of the road, nearly hitting another car.
Eventually, Donegan came to a cul-de-sac, and he was stopped. Donegan was brought to Thurles Garda Station, where he underwent an alcohol test. The reading showed “0”. He was charged with two counts of Dangerous Driving contrary to Sec. 53 of the Road Traffic Act. He has 57 previous convictions.
Solicitor Mr David Doyle said his client is serving time in prison. “He has a bad record. He took a chance to go to the petrol station. When he saw the patrol car he panicked.”
Mr Donegan was on “temporary release”, and liaising with the prison services. “He would be better served by supervision,” said Mr Doyle, who asked that a custodial sentence not be imposed. The prison authorities are satisfied that Donegan is continuing to liaise with them.
“He says he will not be driving again. He’s cycling,” said Mr Doyle.
Judge MacGrath noted that Donegan was disqualified from driving at the time of the offence, and his previous convictions. “I cannot see how a custodial sentence can be avoided,” said the Judge. “There was dangerous driving here and you put other people’s lives at risk, and that is the difficulty,” Judge MacGrath told the defendant.
Mr Donegan was sentenced to two terms of 4 months imprisonment, to run concurrently. He was disqualified from driving for a total of 8 years.