A 34-year old west Clare mother has narrowly avoided jail after being convicted of driving with no insurance for the 26th time.
At Kilrush District Court, Judge Mary Larkin imposed 320 hours of community service and also imposed one four-month suspended prison term and one three-month suspended prison term on Caitriona Kennedy for her four latest no insurance convictions.
Judge Larkin also imposed a two-year driving ban on Ms Kennedy of Church Street, Miltown Malbay on each no insurance conviction. Ms Kennedy has 86 previous convictions in total.
Sergeant Louis Moloney told the court that at Limerick Circuit Court last month, Ms Kennedy was banned from driving for 15 years concerning a no insurance offence and also received a three-month prison term.
Ms Kennedy was heavily pregnant at the time and has since had her baby and the court was told by Sergeant Moloney that Ms Kennedy was released from custody the same day in Limerick.
Judge Larkin stated that Ms Kennedy was found to be driving without insurance at Main Street, Miltown Malbay on August 20 2020 and five days later on Ballard Rd, Miltown Malbay on August 25 2020.
Judge Larkin warned Ms Kennedy that if she didn’t turn up for the community service work, she would be liable to be sent to jail.
Solicitor for Ms Kennedy, Patrick Moylan told the court that Ms Kennedy’s driving with no insurance arose from her significant difficulties in getting her kids to school and also carrying out errands for a family member.
He said, “She was doing her best for her kids as she saw it, albeit it was wrong. She accepts that it was wrong and she assures the court that she will observe her disqualification period.”
Speaking after court, Mr Moylan said, “It is a very fair outcome in that my client has a penalty hanging over her but the sentence gives her a chance to look after her children and do her best for them which is what she has always wanted to do.”
At a previous hearing into the case in June, Judge Larkin said: “I feel very sorry for her children but they are stuck with a mother who will not obey the law.”
Judge Larkin asked: “How am I supposed to punish Ms Kennedy for her recidivism – for driving her car as often as she likes wherever she lives without regard to the law?”