Donegal Customs officers “ignored, mistreated and disrespected” - Judge

Eamonn McFadden

Reporter:

Eamonn McFadden

A District Judge has hit out at the bad attitude some people have towards customs officials in the county as they carry out their duty.

A District Judge has hit out at the bad attitude some people have towards customs officials in the county as they carry out their duty.

Hearing a case where a mother of three drove past one check point before ending up driving 20 metres with a customs official on the bonnet of her car at a second check point, Judge Paul Kelly said there “seems to be a problem in this area when dealing with Customs Officials.”

He said he was aware of a number of cases where people had refused to get out of their cars or in some cases refuse to stop at all for the officers.

“There seems to be an attitude in this area towards customs officers that they are ignored, mistreated and disrespected. I’ can’t understand it,” he stated at a recent hearing in Letterkenny District Court.

He highlighted this is often linked to people residing in the State illegally driving cars registered in the North of Ireland.

The judge added that it is well known in the county that driving a Northern registered car while residing here is against the law but was not being “implemented by some people.”

There has been a number of incidents reported in recent years where stand off’s have ensued when 
drivers of Northern registered cars have been stopped by Customs in the county and refused to leave 
their vehicles.

Last week Letterkenny District Court heard the case of a who a woman who overtook a bus and a number of cars along a continuous white line to evade a customs check point in Newtoncunningham. She also went past a second check point that ended up driving with a customs officer on the bonnet on the bonnet of her car for almost 20 metres.

She was driving a five series Northern registered BMW and had a three-year-old child in the back at the time of the incident.

The court heard she had been stopped two days prior to the incident by customs and she gave a different name and an address in Derry.