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Trucker who drove drunk in snowstorm escapes jail

A TRUCK driver who was "completely hammered" while driving in severe ice and snow has admitted that he was lucky he did not kill himself or anyone else.

Gardai noticed Paddy Reilly (57) because he was holding an open can of beer while he was driving his articulated truck on the M50.

A judge spoke of his horror at Reilly's behaviour, saying the defendant was very drunk, and was driving an articulated truck during the worst snow and ice the city had seen in 60 years.



WORRIED

Judge Hugh O'Donnell said Reilly's level of alcohol was almost as high a level there was, and he deserved to go to jail.

The defendant pleaded with the judge not to imprison him, saying he was frightened about going to jail, and worried about who would look after his family.

Reilly, of Balcurris Gardens in Ballymun, admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to drunken driving.

The incident took place on the M50 northbound near Blanchardstown on January 6.

He was taken to the garda station where he provided two breath specimens to gardai. They showed a reading of 81 mgs of alcohol per 100 mls of breath.

Sergeant Damien Galligan said gardai noticed Reilly because he was driving an articulated truck while holding a can of Budweiser. The sergeant said Reilly was stopped at 12pm. Weather conditions were appalling and there had just been a heavy fall of snow.

The court heard that Reilly had two previous convictions, one for drunken driving.

Defence solicitor said Reilly was married with two grown-up children, who were in full-time education.

The court heard the defendant had a problem with alcohol, but was getting counselling to address it.



APOLOGETIC

His lawyer said Reilly was very apologetic for his behaviour, and aware of the danger that other road users were in.

Judge O'Donnell said Reilly was "way over the limit" and driving an articulated truck in the most appalling weather conditions he could remember in a long time.

The judge banned Reilly from driving for three years, fined him €1,000 and sentenced him to six months in prison suspended for two years.

hnews@herald.ie