Galway Bay fm newsroom – A drunken driver, who killed an elderly pedestrian and injured two Gardaí, has been given 240 hours of community service in lieu of a four-year prison sentence and disqualified from driving for four years.
Father of two, 44-year-old Adrian Nestor, from Keamsella, Kilcolgan, pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last November to causing the death of 66-year old Liam McDonnell.
He also pleaded guilty to causing serious bodily harm to Garda Sharon Casserly, by driving dangerously near Ardrahan in the early hours of Monday, February 1st 2016.
Adrian Nestor further pleaded guilty last November to driving while drunk at the time of the fatal collision.
Sentence was adjourned to today for the preparation of reports and victim impact statements.
Superintendent Sean Glynn gave evidence staff at a local nursing home rang Gardai at 11.35p.m. on March 31, 2016, to say a resident had left the premises and they were concerned because he was wearing dark clothing.
Two Garda cars were despatched to look for Liam McDonnell and just over half an hour later, Garda Sharon Casserly and Garda Peter Murtagh located him.
He was down on on the ground on his hands and knees, on the hard shoulder about 1.5km on the Galway side of Ardrahan.
The patrol car pulled in on the hard shoulder, three to four meters behind Liam McDonnell, facing in the direction of oncoming traffic.
Its dipped headlights and blue flashing lights were on.
Supt. Glynn said that as both Gardai were getting Mr McDonnell into the patrol car, they were struck without warning by a silver Audi car.
The force of the impact caused Mr McDonnell’s death and his body was found in a nearby field.
Garda Casserly received severe injuries and her colleague could hear her screaming in agony as she lay further down the road on the hard shoulder.
Garda Murtagh sustained a broken leg, a large cut to his head and damage to his knees and ankles and he could not move to help his colleague.
Adrian Nestor, who sustained a minor head injury in the collision was later arrested and a blood sample showed a reading of 272 mgs. of alcohol per 100 mls of blood.
A brief victim impact statement from Mr McDonnell’s ex-wife stated that she was not looking for anything except clemency for Nestor’s young family, as jail would not help bring Liam back.
Supt. Glynn confirmed Nestor had no previous convictions and was married with two children.
Adrian Nestor apologised in court to Mr McDonnell’s family and to both injured Gardai who were also present.
Garda Sharon Casserly, who continues to suffer from injuries she sustained that night, read her own victim impact statement into evidence.
She listed out the multiple serious injuries she sustained, including a brain injury.
The court heard she also suffered a stroke while in hospital which left her paralysed on her right side for a time.
She had to cancel her wedding day which was due to take place the following June and her career prospects have been put on hold.
Adrian Nestor told the court he had contemplated taking his own life after that night.
He became anxious and depressed and turned to alcohol.
He was hospitalised twice for his mental health difficulties and while he no longer drinks, he continues to receive counselling and prescribed medications for depression.
Taking Nestor’s previous good record, his genuine remorse, his mental state and the very positive probation report into account, Judge McCabe said the interests of justice would not be served by imposing an immediate custodial sentence.
He imposed the maximum of 240 hours of community service in lieu of a four-year prison sentence for the charge of dangerous driving causing death and serious injury, along with a four-year disqualification.
The judge also fined Nestor €1,000 and disqualified him for three years for the drink driving charge.
LISTEN: Junior Heritage Minister launches Cladoir conservation project at Connemara National Park
Galway Bay FM Newsroom – Junior Heritage Minister Malcolm Noonan is currently in Connemara National Park where he launched the Cladoir Sheep Conservation Project.
Cladoir, or ‘shore dweller’ sheep, were believed extinct in 1995, but the NPWS has worked with local farmers and Teagasc to regenerate the breed.
The minister arrived at the National Park Visitor Centre in Letterfrack where he met the staff in the last hour.
The Minister will also view Tamworth Pigs and Irish Moiled cattle.
Joint chairpersons of the Cladoir Sheep Preservation Committee Sean Cadden and Tom King, and Chief Archaeologist with the National Monuments Service Michael MacDonagh are accompanying Minister Noonan.
Speaking to Galway Bay FM news, the Minister was looking forward to launching the project and he also wanted to to pay tribute to the work of the staff in keeping the park open during the pandemic
Connemara National Park receives over 200,000 visitors a year, and Minister Noonan will also view proposed capital infrastructure projects, visit Newfoundland Wood, and view archaeological sites of importance.
New upgrade for Millennium Skate Park welcomed by City Councillor
Galway Bay FM Newsroom – A Galway City Councillor has welcomed the latest upgrade to the Millennium Skate Park in the city as the Galway Skateboard Association prepares for their Skatefest this weekend.
The Skate Fest will runs throughout the weekend at the park and on Eyre Square.
Recent upgrades have seen a rebuild to the park with a new concrete surface to replace the old modular version and the festival is expected to see close to 200 skaters from around the country visit the park this weekend.
Social Democrats Councillor Owen Hanley welcomed the refurbishment saying that it will lead to more using the park for its proper purpose and less for anti-social behaviour.
LISTEN: New access system proposed to tackle illegal dumping at Sonnagh Bog
A new controlled access system is being proposed to tackle illegal dumping at Sonnagh Bog near Kilchreest.
Independent Councillor Geraldine Donohue, who was elected as the new Cathaoirleach of the Loughrea Municipal District on Monday last, says the system wiill aim to address repeat issues at Turf Bank, known locally as Taylor’s Road.
She’s seeking to speak to landowners or persons with turbary rights to work on reaching consensus on the proposal.
Councillor Donohue says some form of action is needed and enough is enough…