Wrong charge brought against Donegal councillor

A Donegal County Councillor had her case dismissed at Dungloe District Court on Tuesday after it emerged she had been charged with the wrong offence.

A Donegal County Councillor had her case dismissed at Dungloe District Court on Tuesday after it emerged she had been charged with the wrong offence.

Sinn Fein councillor, Marie Therese Gallagher appeared before the court on a charge of failing to wear a safety belt while driving.

However, Ms. Gallagher, who represented herself at the hearing, pointed out that she had in fact been wearing a safety belt and the gardai should instead have charged her with the offence of driving while using her mobile phone.

Ms. Gallagher of Gweedore Road, Dungloe told Judge Paul Kelly that she would have no problem pleading guilty to something she did wrong but not to something she hadn’t done.

She admitted she was on her mobile phone but was instead charged with failing to wear a seat belt at Fairhill, Dungloe on August 8th last.

During a brief hearing, Garda Inspector Denis Joyce accepted that the wrong charge had been brought and Judge Kelly dismissed the charge.

Speaking after the court hearing, Marie Therese Gallagher said she was happy with the outcome of the case. “I had actually contacted the gardai on four separate occasions to tell them about what was on the summons,” she said.

“That’s the point I was trying to make in court. I would have had no problem with this if they had brought the right charge. It was a stupid mistake that I made but I don’t think I should have to admit to something I didn’t do.”