Down Memory Lane in Longford: Judge takes issue with RTE over drink-driving coverage

Story of the week from November 30th, 2001

Longford Leader

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Down Memory Lane

Down Memory Lane in Longford

RTE's coverage of the recent breath sampling device introduced by the Gardai in relation to drink driving cases was criticised by Judge John Neilan at a recent sitting of Longford District Court when he said that RTE were “encouraging drink driving”.

The comments were made when a solicitor applied to have his client's case of drink driving adjourned due to the fact that two test cases were currently before the High Court. The accuracy and method of calculation of the new device introduced by the Gardai, the alcolyser, is currently under debate in the High Court.

Judge Neilan said “RTE in their coverage have given the impression that judges the length and breadth of the country are adjourning cases based on the test cases in the High Court. I am not of the mind to adjourn these cases as far as I'm concerned the law of the land is the law of the land. The message from RTE is to for drivers to go out into the market place and drink as much as they like”.

Judge Neilan went on to say “I don't understand why judges in various district courts can't make their own decisions. These judges in the High Court or Supreme Court don't appear from the heavens you know, they're the same as everyone else”.