Clare Daly dismisses warrant for her arrest as a ‘distraction’

Bench warrant issued after TD left court before her speeding case was called

A judge has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Independents4Change TD Clare Daly for a motoring offence.

Judge Desmond Zaidan issued the warrant after Ms Daly left Naas District Court Thursday before her case had been called.

Ms Daly, who returned to Dublin to attend an Oireachtas committee meeting Thursday afternoon, has since described the warrant as “only a distraction” which “means nothing”.

She said she had left her solicitor with instructions in the case, adding the matter would be quickly resolved in court.

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Ms Daly, with a address in Swords, had been charged for doing 59 km/h in a 50 km/h zone in Newbridge on January 1st 2016.

The judge heard she had attended in the morning but had left because of the large number of cases before the court which meant she wasn’t called until after 3pm.

Solicitor Cairbre Finan said Ms Daly had instructed him to plead guilty in her absence, noting the TD had no previous convictions.

But Judge Zaidan said he would not deal with the case as he always expected defendants to be in court as a matter of “basic etiquette”.

A TD should know better he said, and for a member of the Oireachtas not to attend was a sign of disrespect.

Issuing the bench warrant, he said: “If she has no respect for me as a human being I respect that but I am sitting here as a judge and she should have respect for the office.”

Ms Daly attended the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee meeting Thursday afternoon where the governance of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) was being discussed.

During a break in the committee hearing, she said: “The bench warrant was only a distraction. It’s of no concern, it’s only rubbish, it means nothing.

“I had a solicitor there, I wanted to come back for the HRI committee.”

“Nothing will happen, I’ll go back to court in a couple of weeks.”

She said she got a summons “out of the blue” last week, and was 188 out of 188 on the court list for the day and so left while her solicitor remained in court.