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John Mountaine is set to appeal his driving ban, which leaves him free to drive until November.

Clare TD’s partner pleads guilty to drugs and insurance charges

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THE partner of newly independent Clare TD, Violet Ann Wynne has pleaded guilty to drugs possession, writes Gordon Deegan.

At Kilrush District Court sitting in Ennis, solicitor for John Montaine (39), Patrick Moylan entered a guilty plea on behalf of his client to the illegal possession of cannabis at the family home at Pella Road, Kilrush on February 11 last year.

Mr Moylan said that Mr Montaine was unable to come before the court as he currently has Covid-19. Mr Montaine uses cannabis for medicinal purposes and no evidence was provided to the value of the drugs seized and the facts around the seizure will be heard in court in June.

Mr Moylan also entered a guilty plea on behalf of Mr Montaine to driving with no insurance while driving a 192 registered black Ford Grand C-Max at Decomede, Lissycasey, Co Clare on February 8 2021.

Judge Larkin said that what was before the court “is a serious matter”. Mr Moylan told the court that Mr Montaine has 16 previous convictions with the bulk concerning road traffic matters. Sgt Louis Moloney stated that two of the previous convictions concern driving with no insurance.

Mr Montaine has one previous drugs possession conviction where at Kilrush District Court in November 2018, he was fined €100 after pleading guilty to possessing €30 worth of cannabis herb on
August 10 2017 at his then home at Tullycrine Upper, Cooraclare in west Clare.

In court on that occasion, Mr Moylan explained that Mr Montaine has been epileptic seizure-free since routinely rubbing THC oil extracted from cannabis before he goes to bed each night.

Mr Moylan told the court that Mr Montaine has lost most of his teeth from epileptic seizures.

He further stated that using the THC oil from the cannabis is the only way that Mr Montaine can control his seizures.

It was recommended to Mr Montaine that he turn to cannabis herb to control his epileptic seizures when all conventional medicine had failed, Mr Moylan said, adding, “Mr Montaine has tried all of the normal medications without success.”

Concerning the new offences, Judge Mary Larkin said: “I am going to consider community service so I am going to refer Mr Montaine for a Probation Report as to suitability for community service.”

Mr Moylan said that his client was not a suitable case for legal aid. He said: “It is not appropriate. Mr Montaine is not working but his partner is. Mr Montaine hasn’t any financial wherewithal at all.”

Mr Montaine’s guilty plea to drugs possession follows Deputy Wynne resigning from Sinn Fein in controversial circumstances last month.

The mother of six resigned from Sinn Féin alleging “psychological warfare” and said her recent pregnancy had been used as a “further stick to beat me with”. Deputy Wynne is to continue as an independent TD for Clare.

Deputy Wynne spoke out about her partner, John Montaine’s drug possession when his case first came before court last November.

Deputy Wynne said that come this month (March 2022) “John will be six years seizure-free and that comes from him taking medicinal cannabis”.

During a phone interview, Deputy Wynne said there are positive effects for Mr Montaine in using medicinal cannabis and it has improved his quality of life “100% – without a doubt”.

Deputy Wynne said that Mr Montaine “is only left with a handful of teeth at this stage” from his past seizures.

She stated: “It is a huge issue for John personally. That is something that has really affected his confidence. It has brought difficulties and issues for him and that is hard to watch for someone that you love.”

Judge Larkin has adjourned the case to June 15 for sentence.

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