20 months jail for ‘litany of episodes of reckless and dangerous driving’

By Brion Hoban

A father-of-four who fled a garda checkpoint while driving drunk leading to “a litany of episodes of reckless and dangerous driving” has been jailed for 20 months.

 John McDonagh (30) of Labre Park, Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to endangerment at several locations in Co Dublin and Co Meath on July 27, 2019. 

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Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

 He also pleaded guilty to drink driving and driving without insurance at Kilmore Road, Ballyfermot, on the same date in July 2019. He has 27 previous convictions in Ireland and the UK.

 Garda Erica Delaney told Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, gardai were performing an alcohol checkpoint on the Kilmore Road.

 Garda Delaney said that McDonagh was signalled to pull over by gardai. McDonagh mounted the foot path at a slow speed and appeared to be about to stop, before he took off at speed.

 While being pursued by gardai, McDonagh overtook other road users dangerously and drove the wrong way around a roundabout. While driving on the M50 and M1 motorways he undertook and overtook a number of cars.

 The incident came to an end when McDonagh pulled over and was arrested. He was found to be over the legal alcohol limit and had been driving without insurance.

 Garda Delaney agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that his client seemed to be snorting a white powder when gardai approached and that there was an open bottle of beer inside his car. She agreed that he apologised while being arrested.

 Mr Le Vert said his client’s father was frequently incarcerated during McDonagh’s childhood and was physically abusive to his sons. He said that following the death of his client’s mother, his father took the money the family had raised to pay for her funeral.

 Counsel said his client’s partner was in court and that they have four children together. He said that at the time of the offence, McDonagh had been put out of the house and was effectively living in his car.

Judge Martin Nolan described the offences as “a litany of episodes of reckless and dangerous driving”. He said McDonagh endangered and terrified other road users.

Judge Nolan sentenced McDonagh to three years imprisonment, but suspended the final 16 months of the sentence on strict conditions. He also suspended McDonagh from driving for four years.

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