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Senior nurse has dangerous driving charges reduced

Letterkenny Courthouse.

Letterkenny Courthouse.

A SENIOR nurse who admitted “driving of a highly dangerous manner” had the charges against her reduced at Monday’s sitting of Letterkenny District Court.

Mary O’Callaghan (60) of 76 The Commons, Bellanaleck, County Fermanagh, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing of two counts of dangerous driving between Donegal Town and Ballybofey on December 22 last year.

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Inspector Goretti Sheridan told Judge Paul Kelly that off duty Traffic Corps garda, Damian Mulkearns, witnessed the defendant perform dangerous overtaking manoeuvres over continuous white lines on dangerous bends, overtaking several cars at a time and narrowly avoiding a traffic island on one occasion.

The inspector added that the garda had said it was one of the worst case of dangerous driving he had ever witnessed.

Defending solicitor, Mr Patsy Gallagher, told the court his client had just finished a night shift at Enniskillen Hospital on the night in question.

He added that the case was “causing problems with her employment” due to the nature of the charges.

The defendant told Judge Kelly that she had completed a ‘Pro-Social Drivers Programme’, a safety initiative which aims to improve the driving behaviour of the ‘higher risk group’ of drivers.

“The course was very informative,” O’Callaghan said.

Judge Kelly said the case was “unusual”, describing the incidents as “driving of a highly dangerous manner.”

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“A person of that (nursing) occupation would often see the consequences of such driving,” the judge said.

“This should be a wake up call for her. Given her attitude, I will reduce the charges to careless driving, solely on the basis of stopping her being disqualified. I cannot do anything about her employment situation as she put herself in that position.”

Judge Kelly convicted her of the lesser charges of careless driving and fined her €150 on each count. He concluded that he would not treat her with such “leniency” if she came back before him on similar charges.

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