GAA star claimed his girlfriend was driving to avoid penalty points
A former inter-county footballer who falsely claimed his girlfriend had been driving his van after he was caught speeding has admitted perverting the course of justice.
Shane Sullivan (31) committed the crime to avoid getting three penalty points for speeding in a company van while he was working as a sales representative, a court heard.
Sullivan, a former player on the Offaly senior football team, was banned from driving for three years and fined €300 when he appeared in Dublin District Court.
Sullivan admitted perverting the course of justice, contrary to Common Law, between August 14 and 29 last year.
Detective Garda Bernard Davin said the van had been leased out to the accused's boss and Sullivan had been driving it on August 8, 2014.
The van was clocked by a speed camera and there was a fixed penalty notice. This notice went to the registered owner, who contacted the accused's company.
Sullivan then intentionally perverted the course of justice by nominating Nicola Fox, his girlfriend, as the driver, Det Gda Davin said.
The intention was that the penalty points would accrue to her, he explained. Sullivan was invited to make a garda statement, which he did.
He made full admissions.
"He didn't think, he panicked at the time and knows it was a stupid thing to do," Sullivan's barrister said. "He has learned his lesson."
The accused, of Fahy, Rhode, Co Offaly, also pleaded guilty to separate charges of driving without insurance or a licence.
These incidents happened at Eton Square, Terenure, on September 19 and 20 last year.
On these occasions, the vehicle was insured with a blanket policy by the owner - but Sullivan was disqualified at the time, so was not covered. The owner had been unaware of this.
These charges were under the Road Traffic Act.
The court heard Sullivan had previous motoring convictions.
He had finished his employment and was waiting until "this whole matter is behind him" before seeking another job, his barrister said.
The court heard he had been an inter-county footballer for a number of years and had played for Offaly in the 2006 Leinster Final against Dublin.
Sullivan coached underage teams and had been area manager for a food company. "He is known in society for the right reasons," his barrister said.
The accused was "upstanding" and would not be before the court again, he added. Judge John Cheatle granted an adjournment for the accused to bring character references in to court as part of his mitigation.
When the case resumed, the judge remarked that the testimonials were "very favourable" but his hands were tied in relation to the mandatory driving ban.