Never mind the bollards — Traffic cone fun lands Oranmore man in jail

A young father who abused gardai after swinging traffic cones at his friends and who had been caught driving while disqualified was sentenced to a total of five months at Galway District Court this week.

Patrick Flaherty (27 ) with an address at 95 Frenchpark Road, Oranmore, was charged with threatening and abusive behaviour at Merchants Road on May 25, 2009. He was also summoned for offences including driving without a licence or insurance and failing to produce both documents at Castlepark, Ballybane, on January 5, 2009.

Inspector Pat McHugh told the court that on May 25 at 2.50am three males were spotted causing disturbances at Merchants Road. Gardai then saw the defendant picking up traffic cones and swinging them at the other men before throwing them at a nearby wall. When gardai confronted him Flaherty shouted: “What the f**k? I was only having a good night with the lads. Relax.”

The court then heard that the defendant had three previous convictions which included public order and drug offences.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client had been drinking with his friends and that he was “only messing”. She added that Flaherty had not intended to hurt anyone.

Regarding the road traffic offences, Ms Corcoran said that Flaherty had been disqualified at the time but that his girlfriend had been unable to drive because of her involvement in an accident. She said that the defendant, who is a father and who had lost his job of three years just nine months ago, had always worked before and supported his children. “He genuinely didn’t mean any harm,” she said.

“He was disqualified in November 2008 and this was January 2009. I’m expected to believe that he didn’t drive before that? Then he was abusive to gardai,” said Judge Mary Fahy who then imposed a four month jail sentence and a two year disqualification for driving without insurance. For the threatening and abusive behaviour a one month consecutive sentence was imposed, and for driving without a licence Flaherty was ordered to pay a €200 fine. He received a one month concurrent sentence for failing to produce insurance. Leave to appeal was granted.


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