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25 May 2022

Speeding GAA legend's case struck out in Laois court

Speeding sport star's case struck out

Portlaoise District Court

A Kerryman who admitted to driving at 154kph on the motorway left court without any penalty.

Kieran Donaghy 39, of 3 Golf Course Road, The Kerries East, Tralee, Co Kerry was stopped while driving a Ford Ranger on the M7 at Clonard, Portlaoise on June 19, 2021. 

Garda Stephen O’Hanlon said he stopped the defendant at around 3pm on the day after he detected him driving at 154kph in a 120kph zone. Garda O’Hanlon said he informed the defendant of the speed and issued a fixed charge penalty notice which went unpaid. 

Under questioning, Garda O’Hanlon explained that the address he had used had been the one on the driver’s licence as the vehicle was new and would have been registered to a garage.

Solicitor Philip Meagher told the sitting of Portlaoise District Court that his client wished to give evidence. Mr Meagher said “the speed is accepted” and his client had said Garda O’Hanlon had “dealt with him in a very courteous manner” on the day. 

On the stand, the defendant, a multiple All-Ireland Gaelic football winner with Kerry, admitted that he was nervous as he had never been in court before. When asked about the speed on the day, he said, “apologies, I was late for a meeting.”

He explained that his address is very similar to one in Tralee town and he occasionally gets their mail. He explained that there is a similar address at “3 Golf Links Road” and he said, “I’ve brought stuff into that house but they never brought anything in to me.” 

When quizzed about whether or not the fixed penalty notice had arrived at his address, he said he was 100% sure it hadn’t. He told Mr Meagher that he would have paid it and said, “I paid one nine months previous I think.” 

Sgt JJ Kirby said he’s from the area in Kerry and he accepted the defendant’s evidence that there are two similar addresses. Garda O’Hanlon declined an offer to cross examine the defendant in the witness box. 

In light of the two similar addresses, Judge Patricia Cronin said she would strike the matter out and she told the defendant, “the Sergeant has helped your case.”  

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