13 Aug 2022

‘Days of wines and roses’ over for Longford man in breach of Covid rules

‘Days of wines and roses’ over for Longford man in breach of Covid rules

A Longford solicitor told a court last week how his client's “days of wines and roses” were long over after he was found to be in breach of Covid-19 travel restrictions during lockdown.

Niall Costelloe, Briskill, Newtowforbes. Co Longford, was stopped by gardaí at an address in Longford town where, Frank Gearty defending, said the 36-year-old had been drinking with friends.

“It was in the days of wines and roses, but those days will be over for this man,” said Mr Gearty.

The Newtownforbes man was arrested barely two months later and charged with drink driving after being stopped at Townparks, Newtownforbes, Longford.

Judge Marie Keane was told Mr Costelloe had been obeserved by gardaí travelling into the village behind a tractor.

As Mr Costelloe approached a sharp, 90 degree bend entering Newtownforbes, he veered onto the incorrect side of the road and overtook a tractor.

He was later pulled in and charged with dangerous driving.

The court heard Mr Costelloe had also been more than three times over the legal limit with an official reading of 79 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

Mr Gearty said his client accepeted his role in what had transpired, but was otherwise someone of good character.

He said at the time Mr Costelloe had “gone off the rails” and this particular incident was “an example of that.”

Mr Gearty continued by revealing how Mr Costelloe had been close to death after falling gravely ill.

“He suffered a form of stroke while it seems he was under an intoxicant and ended up in a coma,” he said, adding his client sustained a “significant” brain injury as a consequence.

“He came out of the coma and his brother and family were magnificent in supporting him.”

Mr Gearty, in continuing his mitigation explained how Mr Costelloe's mother was suffering from dementia and was well aware of the likely motoring ban which awairted him.

Adding that Mr Costelloe was also a father to a nine year old child, Mr Gearty said the 36-year-old was cogniscant that “the game was up”.

Judge Keane had little hesitation in handing down a three year driving disqualification for what she described was a “homicidal” alcohol reading.

She also fined Mr Costelloe €250 for the section 4 drink driving offence.

A subsequent dangerous driving charge, Judge Keane reduced to careless driving, sparing Mr Costelloe a further conviction and monetary penalty in the process.

She did, nonetheless, order Mr Costelloe to submit €150 to the court for a breach of Covid travel regulations and Judge Keane instructed that money to be directed to the Gardaí's not-for-profit Little Blue Heroes Foundation.

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