Garda convicted of drink driving in absentia after failing to show up in court

Stephen Byrne also convicted of dangerous driving while off-duty in Co Clare in August 2020

A garda has received a two-year road ban after being convicted of drink driving while off-duty in Co Clare.

Judge Mary Larkin also convicted Stephen Byrne (39) of dangerous driving in connection with the incident on the Inagh to Miltown Malbay road on August 20th, 2020.

Ennis District Court heard Byrne was driving on the wrong side of the road while under the influence and crashed into an oncoming car at speed. The driver of the other car was treated in hospital following the collision.

Byrne, of Park Lodge, Castleknock, Dublin 15, did not turn up for the case on Thursday, which proceeded in his absence.


At a preliminary hearing last year, Byrne’s solicitor Daragh Hassett told the court that his client would be contesting the charges. After his failure to appear on Thursday, Mr Hassett told Judge Larkin: “I have no client so I am not going into evidence.”

Judge Larkin said that when the first on-duty garda arrived on the scene, Byrne said he did not know what happened. She said she was satisfied to convict Byrne of drink driving as there were no flaws in the State case.

The judge said Byrne had no previous convictions and imposed fines of €200 for each offence. She set recognisance of €250 if Byrne wishes to appeal.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times