In a get-tough policy against motorists who do not pay parking fines, or people who do not have children in proper child restraints, Judge Patrick Durcan yesterday banned three motorists — one for 12 months and two others for nine months.
At Ennis District Court, he disqualified Cathy Haugh of Carrowmore, Doonbeg, from driving for nine months and imposed financial penalties of €2,000 between fines and costs. She parked at the Friar’s Walk car park in Ennis on three different occasions in October last and did not pay a €1.30 charge.
On a fourth occasion, Ms Haugh’s 06 CE registered vehicle was also found with road tax expired.
She failed to pay the subsequent fines and was brought to court.
Judge Durcan fined her €250, €350, and €500 for the parking offences with costs of €300. For the third breach, she was banned from driving for six months due to “her persistent and consistent failure” to pay and display.
The judge imposed a concurrent nine-month driving ban for the car tax offence on November 2. The arrears had been paid. Ms Haugh, not in court, was also fined €500 with €100 in costs.
In a separate case, Barbara Faulker of Clarehill, Clarecastle, was fined €350 and banned from driving for nine months after she had three children, aged 4, 5, and 6 in her car on September 19 last without proper child restraints. Adult seatbelts had been used.
Meanwhile, Martin Mongan of Ballymacravan, Ennistymon, was banned from driving for 12 months and had fines totalling €900 after the judge heard he did not have three children in his car restrained by appropriate child restraints on May 27 last at Skehanagh, Clarecastle.
Judge Durcan said not having child restraints on children was “most serious and one which the chair of the Road Safety Authority, Liz O’Donnell has expressed very trenchant views upon”.
Meanwhile, the judge threw out a number of Go Safe speeding prosecutions, after motorists claimed they had not received in the post any notice of an offence.
“I’m reaching the point where I won’t deal with these cases any more because it is so damaging to the administration of justice,” he said.
Judge Durcan made the comments after the prosecution failed in 20 Go Safe cases for a variety of reasons. The most common reason was motorists had not received a fixed-charge penalty notice.
The State could not rebut the evidence and Judge Durcan struck out the cases.
The current system involves Go Safe van employees uploading their information on speeding motorists and sending it to a Garda fixed charge processing unit which, in turn, posts out the notices.
Judge Durcan said: “It is very obvious the next thing this Government should do is set up a commission investigating the inadequacies of the postal service.
“We will have to go back to the carrier pigeon… there is something terribly wrong with the postal service.”