A former GAA county footballer was disqualified from driving for four years at Letterkenny District Court on Monday.
Thomas Ryan, 46, of Termon, Kilmacrennan was stopped by gardaí at Termon Church on September 17 last.
Ryan pleaded guilty to being threatening and abusive but contested a charge of failure/refusal to provide a breath sample.
He became abusive to gardaí and pushed Garda Patrick Geraghty in the chest causing him to step back to regain his balance. Garda Geraghty told the court that Ryan resisted arrest and had to be handcuffed.
The court heard that Ryan shouted at Garda Charlene Anderson: “F*** off you, it’s got nothing to do with you.”
Garda Anderson later had to threaten Ryan with pepper spray in order for him to sit in the back seat of the patrol car.
Garda Geraghty added that on the way to Letterkenny Garda Station, Ryan made numerous comments about being a footballer and outlined how Ryan said “we should let him away with it” and “that we’d caught the big one.”
Ryan told gardaí to “go to the Super’s office” and get their “pick of promotions” and then made reference to gardaí being out drinking.
Ryan arrived at Letterkenny Garda Station and was introduced to Garda Conor Molloy, the Member in Charge. Ryan said that he would do nothing until he got in contact with his solicitor and refused to sign the custody record.
He was led to the intoxiliser room at 2.04am where during his first attempt, he blew too hard into the intoxiliser machine and the next two samples were too short. The court heard that he had chest problems.
Defending barrister, Frank Martin, said Ryan apologised for his behaviour to gardaí. Mr. Martin also told the court that Ryan had volunteered to give a blood or urine sample which was confirmed by Garda Conor Molloy.
Mr Martin said Ryan had difficulty breathing into the machine.
Inspector Goretti Sheridan said the defence would have to prove that the accused had medical issues.
Arising out of the same incident, the defendant’s wife, Eileen Ryan, was also before the court. She was charged with intoxication and threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour to which she pleaded guilty.
Judge Paul Kelly disqualified Thomas Ryan for four years and fined him €400. The disqualification period will start on July 31 next.
Judge Kelly said Ryan’s behaviour did him no credit at all. He added that gardaí have a difficult job to do and had Ryan taken the intoxiliser test he may well have brought himself into the alcohol limit.
Judge Kelly added that if Ryan donated €350 to the LEAF Project in Raphoe he would strike out both the other charges.
Eileen Ryan was afforded the opportunity of paying €250 to the LEAF project.