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26/10/2021

Longford man hit with driving ban after being caught without a seatbelt for seventh time

No seatbelt

A father of four has been disqualified from driving for six months after being found guilty of driving without a seatbelt for a seventh time.

A father of four has been disqualified from driving for six months after being found guilty of driving without a seatbelt for a seventh time.

Patrick McDonnell, 84 Ardnacassa Avenue, Longford, was not in court last Thursday to witness Judge Bernadette Owens hand down his 25th conviction and fifteenth for road traffic related offences.

Bríd Mimnagh, defending, tendered a guilty plea on her client's behalf who, the court, was told could not attend as his wife was heavily pregnant with their fifth child.

She said Mr McDonnell was in no way excusing what she described as “absolutely outrageous behaviour”, adding that the Longford man had learned a sobering lesson.

“He's obviously not too fond of wearing a seatbelt,” said Ms Mimnagh.

“He firstly asked me to apologise for his absolutely outrageous behaviour on the occasion.

“He is a man who is a father of four children and his wife is expecting another child.”

Ms Mimnagh said Mr McDonnell's license exhibited a UK based address as he had lived in the UK and members of his wife's family also resided there.

“He is very apologetic,” she added.

The court also heard Mr McDonnell's wife, Samantha, was also found to have been wearing no seatbelt when the pair were stopped by Garda Gillian Carlos at Church Street, Longford on December 20, 2019.

The charge against Ms McDonnell was consequently struck out.

Inspector Dave Jordan outlined to the court Mr McDonnell's criminal past, which included 24 previous convictions.

Fourteen of those, he said related to road traffic offences and six for being stopped driving without the aid of a seatbelt.

The last recorded incident of such, he added, took place in March 2019 with two further convictions being handed down in October 2016 at Longford and Kilkenny courts respectively.

The latter, he indicated, occurred when Mr McDonnell was stopped driving while having two children in his car under the age of three, both of whom were not restrained.

In handing down her judgement, Judge Owens said she had no option but to convict Mr McDonnell.

“The court can't ignore this is seventh conviction of driving without a seatbelt,” she said.

Judge Owens disqualified Mr McDonnell from driving for six months, deferring the term until January 13 2022 owing to the fact his wife is in the latter stages of pregnancy.

A fine of €250 was also issued with Mr McDonnell being given four months to pay.

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