“IF parents aren’t going to bother about their children, then the courts will.”
So declared Judge Catherine Staines at last week’s district court in Portlaoise, where she fined and disqualified from driving a number of people for allowing their children to travel in cars without proper restraints.
In the case of James McInerney, 6 Cullenwood, Mountmellick, the judge pointed out that one of the leading causes of road deaths is people not wearing seat belts.
The court heard from Garda Daniel O’Connor that McInerney was stopped at Fairgreen, Portlaoise, on November 12 last year. Garda O’Connor gave evidence that there were two children standing up in the back seat of the vehicle.
“(The children) weren’t very small, they were big enough for booster seats,” Garda O’Connor said.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that on the day the cover of the booster seat had been washed and was still wet. The children were then secured in the vehicle with a normal seat belt, but they were able to get out of the belts on a straight road. McInerney’s wife tried to get them to sit down, but there was no hard shoulder by the roadside to pull in.
“I observed them at the dump and followed them back in the road,” said Garda O’Connor. “There was a place to pull in.”
Judge Staines remarked that the children could still sit on a booster seat, even without a cover.
“It will never happen again,” said Mr Meagher.
McInerney was fined €100 and disqualified from driving for six months.
Also before the court was James McDonagh, 42 Willow Grove, Mountmellick, who permitted a child under three to sit in the back of his car, restrained by an adult belt which was too small for it. The offence occurred at Carrymaddock, Stradbally, on December 4 last year.
McDonagh was fined €100 and disqualified from driving for six months.
Also charged was Margaret McInerney, New Road, Portlaoise, who was detected with a child standing on the back seat of her car at Ridge Road, Portlaoise, on November 6 last year.
Garda O’Connor said there was a booster seat in the car, but McInerney told him the child got out of it. She failed to show in court and was fined €100 and disqualified from driving for six months.