Jail for man who drove while disqualified for twenty five years

A Ballybane man who had been caught behind the wheel despite having a previous disqualification from driving for 25 years has been sentenced to five months in jail.

At Monday’s sitting of Galway District Court 28-year-old Martin McDonagh, with an address at 175 Castlepark, Ballybane, pleaded guilty to driving without insurance at Castlepark on June 21, 2007, driving without insurance or a driving licence at Castlepark Road on June 22, 2007, and driving without insurance or a driving licence at Miagh Riocaird, Headford Road, on November 21, 2010.

The court heard that McDonagh has previous convictions which include a disqualification from driving for 25 years imposed in November 2006 for driving without insurance and failure to produce the document. He also received a fine in November 2003 for driving without insurance, having no driving licence, and failure to produce a driving licence. There were also further convictions for similar road traffic offences.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client has had personal difficulites and long term health problems. She said that one particular problem has caused him a lot of anxiety.

“That’s not an excuse, but prison would be extremely difficult for him,” said Ms Corcoran, who then asked Judge Mary Fahy to consider an alternative to a custodial sentence.

“I might have been able to consider it, but he drove very recently knowing he had all these summones and a disqualification for 25 years which could have been appealed,” replied Judge Fahy.

Ms Corcoran explained that McDonagh lacked the maturity to deal with an appeal. She added that “custody is of no benefit to him”.

However, Judge Fahy said that a sentence had to be imposed “for the pure reason that he blatantly drove” knowing he had matters which needed to be dealt with.

For driving without insurance on June 21, 2007, a five-month sentence was imposed but suspended for 12 months on condition that McDonagh enter into his own bond of €300 to be of good behaviour. A three-month suspended jail sentence, to run consecutively, was imposed for driving without insurance on June 22, 2007. Finally, McDonagh was sentenced to five months in jail for driving without insurance and fined €200 for driving without a driving licence on November 21, 2010. McDonagh was also disqualified for five years.

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