A woman from Moate, banned from driving but caught without insurance in Athlone, told the court she did so because her child, who was with her mother in Mullingar, was sick and had to be brought to the doctors, was disqualified for a further three years and warned.
“You are sailing very close to the wind,” Judge John Neilan told Sinead Byrne (33 ) of Cois na hAbhainn, Station Road, Moate in court this week (October 14 ).
“You try driving whilst disqualified again and you will see the inside of Mountjoy prison.”
Garda Breda Smyth told the court how she had stopped Byrne on Mardyke Street at 10.50am on February 13 without licence, insurance or NCT.
Ordered to produce these documents at a Garda station of her choice within 10 days, Byrne failed to do so and was duly summonsed.
Her solicitor, Mr Padraig Quinn, handed in a letter from Byrne’s doctor confirming the illness of her four-year-old daughter on the date in question.
Mr Quinn told the court how Byrne, who also has a 14-year-old daughter, had moved to Moate after a separation and that the car in question belonged to her sister. Byrne’s mother lived in Mullingar, it was revealed.
When Byrne’s previous convictions were read to the court, it was discovered she had a two-year driving ban for drunk driving active from June 26, 2008.
“She accepts it was a foolish thing to do, but when she got the call her first reaction was to drive the child, so she drove to Mullingar to collect the child,” said Mr Quinn.
“Were there no taxis or friends?” asked the judge.
“[Legitimate] Irish drivers pay in excess of €150m each year for uninsured drivers.
“The fact that she was disqualified, I find it an appalling arrogance that she couldn’t rely on the 999 service.
“Believe me, if it was her four-year-old knocked down by an uninsured driver, she’d be the first person jumping round here. That’s the sort of country we come from.
“I am thinking about removing her liberty for a few days,” he said to Mr Quinn, before adding: “I have suspicions about the ownership [of the vehicle].”
Mr Quinn told the judge the car had since been disposed of.
Judge Neilan fined Byrne €150 and banned her from driving for three years before warning her what would happen if she tried driving whilst disqualified again.