Five Year Ban For Driver Who Attempted To Flee Garda Checkpoint

Photo © Pat Flynn

A court has heard that a former general election candidate in Clare engaged in “despicable behaviour” with Gardaí in a roadside incident which left an officer with what were described as “horrific” hand injuries.

Niamh O’Brien of Lake Isle, O’Callaghan’s Mills was a Fís Nua candidate in Clare last year and was charged with dangerous driving and road traffic offences.


On May 28th last year, Niamh O’Brien was stopped by Gardai at Cutteen Cross near Tulla, and the court heard she refused to provide any documentation and reversed at speed in a bid to get away.

Garda Declan Condon ran along the reversing car, and smashed the driver’s window with his baton resulting in two severed tendons to his hand, which has not fully recovered.

Det Sgt Ronan O’Hara said that he detected a smell of cannabis from Ms O’Brien and she refused to provide a specimen of blood or urine.

Ms O’Brien recorded the interaction on her phone and the footage was used by the State in the prosecution.

In sentencing Ms O’Brien, Judge Patrick Durcan sais Ms O’Brien “lied through her teeth” when providing “incorreect and deceitful instructions to her solicitor, Tara Godfrey.”

He also said her behaviour “reflects the growing trend on the part of a group of people in this country who believe that they can take on the forces of law and order and the Gardaí.”

Ms O’Brien, who was not in court, was fined 2,100 euro, handed a suspended four month jail term and a five year driving ban.