120km/h car chase through streets

A 25-year-old man could have been driving at a speed of 120km/h through the busy streets of Killarney, Co Kerry, early on Saturday, a court has been told.

Three men appeared at special court sittings in Killarney and Killorglin, arising from different incidents, and all were remanded to custody to appear at Killarney District Court tomorrow.

Hundreds of boy racers in modified cars were in Killarney for the annual Rally of the Lakes, although they do not compete in the event.

There were 16 public order arrests and 15 vehicles were seized, according to gardaí.

Early yesterday, rocks were allegedly thrown at a Garda car near Kells, on the Ring of Kerry, on a road which had been blocked for about two hours.

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Jimmy Fogarty, aged 20, of Parkstown, Horse and Jockey, Thurles, Co Tipperary, was summonsed for dangerous driving and engaging in threatening behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace at Gleesk, Kells, yesterday.

Garda Stephen Hourigan told of rocks being thrown at one Garda car and of another being prevented by a crowd from getting to the scene. However, Padraig O’Connell, solicitor, said there was no suggestion Mr Fogarty was involved in that activity.

Mr Fogarty, who was arrested at 3.23am in Killorglin, is currently on bail on other driving charges, the court was told.

William Dunne, aged 25, of Templemore Rd, Erris, Portlaoise, Co Laois, was summonsed for dangerous driving, in Killarney, early on Saturday. He was seen overtaking two vehicles stopped at a red light and driving through a red light while refusing to pull over for gardaí, the court heard.

Sgt Adrian Brennan told Judge James O’Connor he saw the car driving at speed, at 3.30am, through Port Rd, New St and Mission Rd. The vehicle did a 180-degree turn heading in the direction of Mission Rd. Gardaí activated a blue light to signal the driver to stop, but Sgt Brennan said the driver continued at speed.

The chase lasted five to six minutes through Beech Rd, New St, Market Cross, High St and Hans Liebherr Rd until the driver stopped at Rock Rd. Sgt Brennan said Mr Dunne also drove around a number of vehicles waiting at a roundabout on the Tralee side of Killarney.

Mr Dunne said he failed to stop because he panicked and that he was sorry.

Mr O’Connell, for Mr Dunne, a farmer and cattle dealer, said his client had never been in custody before and accepted fully what Sgt Brennan said.

Judge O’Connor refused bail and remanded him in custody.

Supt Murphy questioned why Mr Dunne did not stop after 20 seconds when ordered by gardaí and said the only reason he stopped when he did was he had no other choice. He said he could have been doing up to 120km/h.

At another court sitting, Colm Walsh, aged 20, of Polerone, Mooncoin, Co Kilkenny, was summonsed for dangerous driving at Minish, Killarney, on May 1.

Garda Eoin Mullins, who was in an unmarked Garda car, saw the defendant doing a ‘doughnut’ in the middle of the Cork to Killarney road at 11.30pm. Between 30 and 40 cars were at the scene.

Mr Walsh was remanded in custody.

Supt Murphy said gardaí would continue to maintain a strong presence, with a focus on dangerous driving and modified vehicles.

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