A bachelor farmer from an isolated part of Co Kerry will not be put off the road for drink driving until December so he can get his affairs in order, a court has ruled.
In the meantime, John O'Shea (60) is to try find "a nice woman" at the Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival to drive him around, the court heard.
O'Shea, of Derrinadin, Mastergeeha, had previously pleaded guilty to drink driving at Tarmons, Waterville, on July 25th, 2014.
John O’Dwyer, solicitor for O’Shea, told Cahersiveen District Court that football had been his client’s “downfall on the day”.
He went to Waterville for cow feed and ended up talking about Kerry’s performance in beating Cork in the Munster Football Final, drinking too much and hitting a ditch while driving home.
The accused’s alcohol-blood reading - 198mg per 100ml - was such that the offence carried a three-year driving ban, the court heard. The legal limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
Mr O’Dwyer asked if his client could not be put off the road until after the summer.
Judge James O’Connor said religion, games or politics should not be discussed in pubs.
O’Shea lives some 10km from Waterville and would be at a severe disadvantage if put off the road immediately, Mr O’Dwyer said.
Asked if he had “good neighbours”, O’Shea replied that they were “alright”. His relatives lived in Co Cork, the court heard.
Judge O’Connor also asked if O’Shea was “going to stay single or are will you take the plunge?”
Without transport his client would be at a great disadvantage in that area, Mr O’Dwyer replied.
"You'd never know now with Star Wars," Judge O'Connor said, in reference to the increased visitor numbers to south Kerry due to the activity surrounding the filming of the movie on Skellig Michael.
Being off the road would make it difficult for O’Shea to care for his cows and he would have to make arrangements to get rid of them, Mr O’Dwyer said.
“Or find himself a nice woman,” the judge said.
If the extension went beyond September it would allow him to go to the matchmaking festival at Lisdoonvarna, Mr O’Dwyer noted.
Judge O’Connor said it was not the purpose of the State to “nail” people in terms of undoing their livelihood and he granted an adjournment of the ban until December 8th.
The decision drew swift condemnation from the Irish Road Victim’s Association.
“What planet is this judge living on?” its chairwoman Donna Rice asked.
“For a judge to give a priority to the care of cows over the protection of our families and children going about their daily business shows how out of touch he is with the reality faced by the hundred of families left with seriously injured loved ones, and family members killed, by drunk drivers,” she said.