At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan continued his hard line against motorists who park on disabled spots by banning John McNamara, aged 18, from driving for five months after he pleaded guilty to parking in the disabled zone at Ennis’s Parnell St car park on January 4.
Judge Durcan banned McNamara from driving after earlier imposing a five month driving ban on Iwona Zaton of Aughanteeroe, Gort Rd, Ennis, Co Clare, for parking in a disabled spot in Ennis on January 14. Ms Zaton wasn’t in court.
In relation to McNamara’s case, Judge Durcan said: “I have never come across such breathtaking arrogance and ignorance and lack of human feeling as I have come across in one of these cases as I have in this case.”
Solicitor for Mr McNamara, of O’Donoghue Avenue, Janesboro, Limerick, Tara Godfrey, said the offence in parking across two spots was “absolutely unforgivable”.
She told the court that Mr McNamara — who has no previous convictions — was going to the local cinema and had parked in the nearby Parnell St car park. Ms Godfrey said Mr McNamara parked in one disabled spot and strayed into the second by badly parking.
She said Mr McNamara incorrectly believed that he could park in the disabled spot as it was evening time when you didn’t have to pay for a parking spot.
After being told the cinema has disabled access, Judge Durcan said that Mr McNamara had shown total disregard for disabled people.
“In other words, he prevents two potential disabled patrons attending the cinema in two parking bays which are located close to the cinema. The arrogance, the ignorance, the selfishness and total disregard for others is breathtaking.”
The solicitor said that Mr McNamara left school at 16, got married at 17 and has one child on the way.
“He doesn’t come across as being a bad lad and he is from a place in Limerick where things would have been very tough. It would have been very hard for him to get to this stage without previous convictions.”
Ms Godfrey said that Mr McNamara has been “honest with court, is extremely sorry and genuinely believed that as he didn’t have to pay a car parking ticket at this time of the evening, that he could have parked anywhere in the car park.
“I am asking for leniency. This has been an entire education for Mr McNamara.”
After imposing the driving ban and a €500 fine, Judge Durcan said: “I would ask that Mr McNamara to reflect on his attitude and change his attitude to society generally.”
Judge Durcan set recognisance in the event of an appeal.