Speeding fine dropped over Irish

Monday 03 April 2006 23.41
Speeding fine dropped over Irish

A Co Donegal builder who was accused of speeding last year will not be prosecuted because the authorities failed to meet their constitutional obligation to deal with him in Irish.

Éamonn Mac Giolla Chomhaill was stopped in February 2005 and accused of speeding.

He was faced with the prospect of a fine of €80 and two penalty points or the alternative of going to court and risking an even greater penalty if convicted.

Mr Mac Giolla Chomhaill contacted his solicitor who then sought copies of the documentation in Irish.

However, by the time the fixed penalty notice arrived, the 28-day period for payment had elapsed and he was summoned to court.

Mr Mac Giolla Chomhaill initiated judicial review proceedings.

His solicitor also sought a translation of the road traffic acts and the District Court rules in Irish and discovered these were unavailable.

He also claimed that An Coimisinéir Teanga had a commitment from the Garda Commissioner that gardaí would provide a bi-lingual service.

Mr Mac Giolla Chomhaill is a native of Gaoth Dobhair and did not speak English until he was in his teens. He works in the Gaeltacht and conducts all his business through Irish.

He claimed that he was being prejudiced and disadvantaged by the attitude of the Garda Commissioner, the Department of Justice and the State.

Today, the High Court was told the judicial review proceedings could be struck out because Mr Mac Giolla Chomhaill had received a commitment from the authorities that his prosecution on a charge of speeding will be discontinued.