A Ballina woman who was arrested for drink driving while driving her three children was disqualified from driving for six years at last week’s sitting of Belmullet District Court.
Donna Murray (34) of Gortogher, Cloghans, Ballina had contested the charges of drink driving and dangerous driving following her arrest in Ballina on November 11, 2011.
She had been accused of driving in and out of the cycling lane but she told the court that she had to drive into the lane because the road was narrow. She also claimed that the 20 minute mandatory observation period before she gave her breath specimen in Ballina garda station was not complied with.
However, Judge Denis McLoughlin told the court that he did not find her evidence to be credible and convicted her of both charges. He disqualified her for a total of six years and fined her a total of €350. It emerged in court that the mother of four young children had received a three year driving ban in 2009 and her licence was only restored three months prior to the offence taking place.
Evidence had been heard in May of how gardaí had responded to an anonymous caller that there may be a drink-driver at the Killala Road Business Park in Ballina. Gardaí drove in the direction and observed Ms Murray’s car leaving the estate and noticed it driving in and out of the cycling lane before she was stopped at Kilmore-Moy, Ballina.
Three of Ms Murrays children aged 7,6 and 3 were in the rear seat and a subsequent breath specimen showed a concentration of 61 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath.
Under cross examination from Inspector Joe McKenna, she denied almost mounting a footpath while driving.
Mr Gordan asked for a dismissal on the grounds that if there is a doubt regarding the observation period and the driving it must go to his client. However, Judge McLoughlin said he did not find her evidence credible and convicted her on all charges.
Mr Gordon explained that following the first drink driving case she entered Hope House but relasped and was drinking wine on the day. He claimed she did not intend to use the car but nobody was available to collect the children and she went to collect them.