A Fianna Fail Mayo County Councillor who risked the lives of other motorists by driving dangerously on a twisted treacherous stretch of road has been fined a total of €800 and disqualified from driving.
Cllr Damien Ryan (39 ) with an address at Mile Hill, Ballinrobe, Mayo, appeared at Galway District Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving at Tirellan Heights, Headford Road, Galway on September 5, 2009. The councillor, who acted as the Director of Elections for his party in the last General Election, was also charged with refusing to give a sample or blood or urine on the same date but this was withdrawn by the State.
Garda Philip Staunton gave evidence that he received a report of a green Toyota Corolla driving erratically from Headford in the direction of Galway city. Garda Staunton said that he took a statement from a witness who described how the defendant’s car had veered onto the wrong side of the road as it rounded a bend, meeting oncoming traffic and forcing other vehicles to “cross over” to avoid a collision. Ryan’s car continued on its dangerous journey towards Clonboo and as it passed Cunniffe’s public house it again went onto the wrong side of the road, causing other traffic to take evasive action. The car was finally stopped at the Tirellan Heights area of the city.
The court further heard that there had been “a late plea” to the charges and that Ryan, who is a farmer by profession and a married man with two children, has no previous convictions. Ryan’s defence barrister asked Judge Mary Fahy to consider not imposing a disqualification.
“This has come up before and it has been checked. With a Section 53 a disqualification of two years is mandatory,” replied a resolute Judge Fahy.
For the first count of dangerous driving Judge Fahy convicted Ryan and fined him €500 with four months to pay and disqualified him from driving for two years and one day. Ryan was further fined €300 for the second dangerous driving charge and disqualified for two years and one day, to run concurrently. He was further ordered to pay witness expenses of €160.