NEWS

"Shocking" driving the reason so many young men are dying on Donegal roads

Drove car at speed with no lights and crashed close to several people attending Rory Gallagher Festival

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"Shocking" driving the reason so many young men are dying on Donegal roads

The damaged railings in Ballyshannon

A district judge said that the reason why so many young men were dying on the roads in Donegal was apparent in the “shocking” driving of a County Tyrone man at the Rory Gallagher Festival, last weekend.

Judge Kevin Kilrane made the remark as he jailed 35-year-old Martin McGovern Galbally Road, Dromore, Omagh, County Tyrone for a total of eight months and banned him from driving for ten years for motoring offences, to which the defendant pleaded guilty at Ballyshannon District Court.

The court heard that McGovern drove his car at speed with no lights and crashed into the roundabout in Ballyshannon, close to several people who were attending the Festival on June 2.

Defence solicitor Gerry McGovern said that what his client had done was “utter madness”. “Thank God he was not involved in some sort of fatal collision because he would serve another six years," the solicitor said.

The defendant had previously escaped from Loughan House for  previous motoring matters back in 2004, the court was told. He was now in custody on these matters and was due for release in August after escaping from lawful custody. 

Martin McGovern pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving at Carrickboy, Ballyshannon, refusing to give a sample in a drunk driving prosecution, having no licence, and driving with no insurance at Carrickboy, Ballyshannon on June 2.

Related charges of dangerous driving at Finner and Portnason, on the same date were struck out before Judge Kevin KIlrane.

Superintendent Colm Nevin told the court that gardai spotted a silver car driving from Ballyshannon to Bundoran with no lights at Finner at 10.45 pm. They followed the car that turned around in Bundoran heading back to Ballyshannon at speed and they activated the blue lights and sirens.

It narrowly avoided a taxi and crashed into the railings at the side of the roundabout close to where several people were walking at the Rory Gallagher Festival. The defendant was arrested and refused to give a specimen when arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Defence solicitor Gerry McGovern said his client had not been in trouble since 2004. He had taken a lot of drink and for some strange reason he did not stop for the gardai.

The defendant had been back In the court system for the first time in 14 years and was back to where he was in 2004. The defendant was pleading at the earliest opportunity and was ashamed and back in prison something he thought he would never see again.

Judge Kilrane said the defendant had escaped custody many years ago and must have known that he was wanted by the authorities in the State.

If the defendant had stayed a few more weeks in Loughan House he would have not to be worrying about coming back into this jurisdiction.

Judge Kilrane jailed McGovern for four months on the refusal charge and a further four months on the dangerous driving charge at Carrickboy with a four months concurrent sentence for the offence of driving with no insurance.

The charge of having no licence was taking into consideration.

Related case

Meanwhile in a related case, 27-year Jade Foster of Shandon Park, Omagh was fined €109 out of £100 stg that was lodged in court for using threatening and abusive behaviour towards gardaí at Carrickboy on the same and at the same time.

A charge of being drunk and a danger to herself and others was taken into consideration.

This defendant was a passenger in McGovern’s car and ran from the vehicle when gardaí apprehended McGovern, the court was told.

The car had just crashed into railings near where pedestrians were walking, the court heard.

The court heard she was taking vigorous swings at a garda and was “very drunk”.

Foster called a garda a “f…..g b…..d, the court heard.

This defendant who represented herself, pleaded guilty, and had no previous convictions, the court heard.