Off-Duty Clare Garda Convicted Of Careless Driving

Photo: © Pat Flynn

A serving Co Clare Garda who failed a roadside breath-test for alcohol has been convicted of careless driving arising from a late night “very low-impact” collision with a taxi on his way home from the pub.

At Ennis District Court today, Judge Alec Gabbett imposed a fine of €500 on David Kenneally (41) of Tulla Rd, Ennis after he changed his plea to guilty to the charge of careless driving concerning “the less than 10km per hour” collision with the back of a taxi at 1.55am at Abbey Street, Ennis on February 5th 2022.

Counsel for Mr Kenneally, David Staunton BL (instructed by solicitor, Daragh Hassett) asked Judge Gabbett to be as lenient as he could be on his client as Mr Kenneally has already endured a number of significant ancillary penalties above what a normal citizen would endure that have impacted his professional and personal life.


Mr Staunton said that his client has been suspended from An Garda Siochana since the offence in February 2022 and “there will be consequences elsewhere professionally for him as well”.

State Solicitor, Aiden Judge described what happened on the night as “an unfortunate incident” and that Mr Kenneally has no previous convictions.

Mr Kenneally initially pleaded not guilty to three charges of careless driving, drink driving and frustrating a Garda prosecution at Abbey Street, Ennis on February 5th 2022.

However, Mr Kenneally changed his plea to the careless driving charge at mid-hearing after the State withdrew the more serious charges of drink driving and frustrating a prosecution.

After the court had heard from several State witnesses, State Solicitor, Mr Judge told Judge Gabbett that the State was not offering any evidence in respect of driving under the influence of alcohol and not offering any evidence in relation to the frustration of a prosecution.

Mr Judge confirmed the change in the State’s case after earlier asking for a brief adjournment.

Mr Judge requested the adjournment after Garda evidence concerning the sequencing of Mr Kenneally and Evidencer machine operator, Garda Andrew McGee signing the print out of the Garda Evidencer machine after Mr Kenneally had provided a breath sample at Ennis Garda Station after 3.30am on February 5th 2022.

Garda McGee said that the Evidencer machine test for Mr Kenneally showed a reading of 51 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. This is over the legal limit for driving.

Earlier in evidence, Sgt David Hannon said that at 1.55am he received a report of a road traffic collision on Ennis’s Abbey Street outside Knox’s pub.

Sgt Hannon said that when he got to the scene, off duty Garda, David Kenneally called him over “and told me that he was driving one of the vehicles and crashed into the back of a taxi”.

Sgt Hannon told the court that he went up to the taxi-driver “and I asked him if was okay and he said that he had a pain in his neck and back and he requested an ambulance”.

Sgt Hannon said that as he was briefing by phone a duty sergeant he noted Mr Kenneally walking down a laneway beside Knox’s pub and he came back up to the corner “and I saw him pick up a pint of Guinness off a table outside the pub”.

Sgt Hannon said: “I took the pint of Guinness off him and put it back down on the ground.”

Sgt Hannon said that Mr Kenneally then provided a roadside breath sample for drink driving “and this returned a fail”.

Sgt Hannon said that he formed the opinion that Mr Kenneally had consumed an intoxicant to such an extent that he didn’t have proper control of a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place at 2.19am and he arrested Mr Kenneally on suspicion of drink driving and he was conveyed to Ennis Garda Station.

Mr Kenneally had been out socialising with Darren McGill and he offered Mr McGill a lift home on the night. Mr McGill told the court that he didn’t know if Mr Kenneally was drinking in the pub.

Mr McGill said that while driving up Abbey Street, Mr Kenneally’s Ford Mondeo car had “a very low impact” collision or ’tipped’ a car in front.

Mr McGill agreed with Mr Staunton that he told Gardai in his statement that the collision occurred “at a speed of less than 10km per hour”.

Mr McGill agreed that the collision didn’t cause any damage to either vehicle.

Mr McGill said that he observed Mr Kenneally taking a drink from a pint glass in a lane way after the accident.