*Photograph: John Mangan

A JUDGE has imposed a driving ban on the partner of Clare TD, Violet Anne Wynne (IND) after commenting that John Mountaine “continues to drive in breach of the law”.

At Kilrush District Court on Tuesday, Judge Alec Gabbett imposed the three month driving ban on Mr Mountaine (42) of Pella Rd, Kilrush for driving unaccompanied on a provisional licence at Lack West, Kilmihil, Co Clare in October 2021.

Judge Gabbett said, “I am quite concerned that Mr Mountaine continues to drive in breach of the law. The law is simple here – if you have a provisional licence, you must be accompanied when driving”.

Judge Gabbett said, “This is an ongoing offence with Mr Mountaine and he continues to drive unaccompanied while on a provisional licence”.

Judge Gabbett said that he had indicated in court exactly one year ago that he would convict Mr Mountaine of the offence but had given him time to sit his driving test and Mr Mountaine had failed to do so.

Imposing a €200 fine on Mr Mountaine for driving unaccompanied while on a provisional licence in October 2021, Judge Gabbett said that he was using his ancillary powers to impose the three month driving ban on Mr Mountaine.

He said, “I am concerned that there is an unlicensed driver on the road – albeit he is insured and that is the only comfort I take from it. That is for as long as his insurer indulges that particular position. I am not sure if they will into the future”.

Solicitor for Mr Mountaine, Patrick Moylan said that his client has been on a waiting list for the driving test since November 3rd 2020 “and has not been called”.

Mr Moylan said, “He has been repeatedly told that a slot will become available”.

Mr Moylan said, “He started his own business, Mounty’s Carpentry. He is doing his best with that and two people work for him”.

“He needs his driving licence. He has six children aged fourteen, thirteen, eleven, eight, six and two”.

Mr Moylan said that Mr Mountaine was considering withdrawing his driving test application in Clare and re-submitting one for the Dublin area.

Judge Gabbett said that he found it ‘extraordinary” that Mr Mountaine has not been called for a driving test.

He said, “I have completed the BE trailer licence myself in the last year – in the time that he has been applying I have done my trailer test so I can’t understand how Mr Mountaine can’t sit his driving test”.

Judge Gabbett said, “I am concerned that he is meeting all these obstacles”.

Judge Gabbett also imposed a €300 fine on Mr Mountaine after convicting him for holding a mobile phone while driving in October 2021.

Mr Mountaine was on a call to Deputy Wynne at Leinster House during a ‘pre-school run’ for two of the couple’s children on October 21st 2021 when he was spotted by Garda Patrick Hanley holding a mobile phone up to his ear while driving.

Judge Gabbett set recognisance of Mr Mountaine’s own bond of €200 in the event of appeal against the driving ban to the circuit court.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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