Singer gets driving ban of four years


SINGER DOLORES Keane has been banned from driving for four years and fined €300 for drunk-driving.

Judge Paul Kelly yesterday paid tribute to Ms Keane for her involvement with the best-selling album A Woman’s Heart, and wished her the best of luck in her career.

Ms Keane (58), who is now on her third driving ban, told the judge at Glenties District Court: “Thank you very much.” She had admitted being nearly twice over the alcohol limit when driving outside the courthouse and less than 80m from the Garda station on March 26th, 2011.

The court was told it was her second drink-driving incident within a few months as she was already banned for three years for an offence near her home outside Tuam, Co Galway, in November 2010.

The four-year ban, which started yesterday, will run concurrently with the three-year disqualification.

Judge Kelly was also told that Ms Keane, who spent three months this year at an alcoholic counselling and treatment centre, was first banned from driving for two years in June 2000.

Garda Insp Dennis Joyce, prosecuting, said Ms Keane’s latest drink-driving occurred in March last year outside the courthouse in Glenties when gardaí received a report of a car being driven in an erratic manner on the wrong side of the road. Ms Keane was co-operative with gardaí.

Solicitor Eric Gleeson, defending, said Ms Keane had two children, one of whom was blind. “She drank all her life, which affected her health and wellbeing, and more recently began to drink heavily,” Mr Gleeson told the court.

This year she went on a 12-week alcoholic counselling and treatment course in a Cuan Mhuire centre and, at one stage, she was removed for treatment to hospital in Limerick.

Mr Gleeson added that she was now off alcohol and medication and “a lot more healthy” than when he first took instructions from her last year. She was getting her career back on track and there was a forthcoming tour.

Judge Kelly said to Ms Keane that it was obvious her being in court was “sufficient” punishment.

She replied: “Yes.”

The judge said: “I am sure you would rather be remembered for A Woman’s Heart and your other fine productions.”

He added that he wished her the best of luck with her continued career. She replied: “Thank you very much.”

The judge said he would impose only a fine instead of a prison or suspended prison sentence. He also banned her for four years.

“You are seriously in peril if you find yourself in this situation again,” he told her.

Ms Keane, Caherlistrane, Tuam, once more replied “thank you” as she left the court with a sister and her manager.