A woman whose humanist marriage was described as "mumbo-jumbo" and "away with the fairies" by a district court judge has had her four-month jail term lifted on appeal.
At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Gerald Keys told Patricia Fogarty (aged 41) that she had an "appalling record" after hearing that she has been caught driving without insurance eight times.
At Killaloe District Court in December, Judge Patrick Durcan jailed Ms Fogarty for four months when convicting the mother of nine of Shanbally, Craughwell, Co Galway, of giving a Garda a false name and driving without insurance with a number of her children when she was stopped at the side of the road by Det. Garda John Jenks on March 6, 2018, at Bridgetown, Co Clare.
Ms Fogarty was disqualified when stopped by Det, Jenks in March as she was serving a four-year driving ban imposed on her in September 2014.
Last December, Judge Durcan described Ms Fogarty’s marriage as "mumbo-jumbo" and "away with the fairies".
He said that Ms Fogarty had instructed her solicitor “with this cock and bull story about being married that is daft”.
Ms Fogarty spent a night in custody last December before being released on appeal pending the circuit court case.
Along with the prison term, Judge Durcan imposed a six-year driving ban on her. Now, at the circuit court, Ms Fogarty escaped jail for driving without insurance on the day after Judge Keys increased the prison term to nine months but suspended all of it.
Judge Keys also reduced Ms Fogarty’s driving ban to five years. Judge Keys said that Ms Fogarty had exposed her children to the consequences of driving without insurance. He said: “What I have heard doesn’t suggest to me that she is a very responsible person.”
In the incident, Ms Fogarty told Det. John Jenks that her name was Patricia Fogarty but Det. Jenks said that he couldn’t find any record of Patricia Fogarty but did come across a Patricia Haskett McLeish.
Solicitor for Ms Fogarty, Jennifer Donovan, told Judge Keys that her client was appealing against the severity of the four-month jail term for providing a false name but that she was pleading guilty to the charge.
Ms Donovan explained that Haskett is Patricia’s maiden name and she got married to a man called McLeish. Ms Donovan said that her client now goes by the name of Patricia Fogarty after taking her husband’s Fogarty surname after marrying at a humanist ceremony five years ago.
Ms Donovan said that the Humanist Society of Ireland has told her that there are accredited celebrants of humanist marriages where those marriages have legal status.
However, Ms Donovan added that the HSI told her there are unaccredited freelancers performing humanist marriages where there is no legal recognition and she said that it was one of these freelancers used by Ms Fogarty for her humanist ceremony.
Ms Donovan said that Ms Fogarty’s children have the name Fogarty on their birth certificates. Ms Fogarty also has a voting card with the name Patricia Fogarty on it.
Ms Donovan said that Ms Fogarty is extremely regretful and remorseful of driving without insurance. Judge Keys said that he would remove the jail term on Ms Fogarty for providing the false name.
He said: “The name Fogarty is mentioned somewhere along the line and I will give her the benefit of the doubt over that.”