Irish judge wants drink driving sentencing increased to UK level

Irish judge wants drink driving sentencing increased to UK level

An Irish judge has called for drink driving sentences to be increased to UK levels and warned that drinking and driving is “neither socially nor morally acceptable”.

Judge Keenan Johnson made his comments at Portlaoise Circuit Court while sentencing Finbarr O’Rourke, a commercial traveller from Portlaoise, to seven years and six months imprisonment for causing the death of four-year-old Ciaran Treacy. Judge Johnson also disqualified O’Rourke from driving for 20 years.

Judge Johnson noted that the maximum sentence for dangerous driving causing death in Ireland is 10 years, while it is 14 in the UK, and he suggested this was “worth looking into”.

O’Rourke pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death after his car crossed the white line and hit the oncoming car of the Treacy family on April 17, 2014 .

Judge Keenan Johnson described the victim impact statement of parents Ronan and Gillian Treacy as “one of the most powerful, harrowing, vivid and upsetting that I have ever read”.

He added: “A car under the control of a drunken driver is no longer a mode of transport, it is a lethal instrument that has the capacity to kill and maim.”

O’Rourke had a urine alcohol reading of 200mg per 100ml – three times over the normal limit. However, he was seven times over the legal limit imposed on him as a commercial traveller.

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