A senior garda told a court yesterday that a number of residents “were in fear of their lives” over the staging of an unofficial boy-racer rally in Clare last year.
Insp John Ryan was speaking at Ennis Circuit Court yesterday where seven of those involved in the rally successfully appealed six-month driving bans handed to them last September.
Insp Ryan said the undercover Garda operation and publicity around the district court case where the bans were imposed “hasn’t quelled the problem any bit”.
He said: “It spikes at weekends and the difficulty for us that the doughnuts being performed leaves roads really dangerous and, if a motorcyclist breaks on that, it is like slipping on ice.”
Insp Ryan said the problem of boy-racing in north Clare “had been going on for a long period and we were forced to get in undercover gardaí to catch these people. This was the only way we could combat the problem”.
After hearing evidence in the case yesterday, Judge Tom O’Donnell said the behaviour on the night “was outrageous and appalling, where this was a concerted effort by a number of individuals to take over the highways and byways of Co Clare”.
An undercover garda who posed as a boy-racer at the late night rally, Detective Garda Barry Walsh said one racer performed doughnuts around rally organiser Wayne Danaher, aged 19, of Snipe Lodge, Knockagulla, Lisdoonvarna, at the entrance to the Cliffs of Moher.
At a subsequent interview with gardai, Mr Danaher said he was within a couple of feet of the car performing the doughnuts and admitted it was a very dangerous thing to do.
Det Walsh said the cruise, organised through Facebook, involved 70 cars and gathered on Lahinch prom on Friday night, March 7.
He said the rally didn’t end until 4am, taking in the Cliffs of Moher, Lahinch, Doolin, and Corkscrewhill on Lisdoonvarna on March 7/8.
Seven individuals pleaded guilty to offences in connection with the rally. They were: Wayne Danaher; Jennifer Cannavan, aged 20, of Derrymore, Lahinch; Shaun Larkin, aged 27, of Inis Carraig, Ennis; Sean Keane, aged 19, of Ballyhannon, Quin; Rory Downes, aged 21, Clonakilla, Kilmihil; Gabriel Weck, aged 20, of Bealcragga, Connolly, and Kevin Baker, aged 18, of Finntra, Miltown Malbay.
Danaher and Canavan pleaded guilty to public order offences with the others pleading guilty to careless driving.
Judge O’Donnell yesterday overturned the driving bans after taking into consideration the defendants’ guilty pleas and having no previous convictions.
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