*Photograph: John Mangan

A JUDGE has further adjourned imposing sentence on the partner of Clare TD, Violet Anne Wynne (IND) for driving offences after being told that John Mountaine is “in a holding pattern” in his efforts to secure a driving test.

At Kilrush District Court, Judge Alec Gabbett said that he would adjourn the case to January after solicitor for Mr Mountaine, Patrick Moylan said Mr Mountaine “is in a holding pattern” in his bid to obtain a test.

Judge Gabbett described this as “unusual”. Judge Gabbett said, “I do appreciate tests take a while but I mean this was in lieu of being put off the road given the unusual circumstances of six children and no ability to get around.”

Judge Gabbett said that “lots of people have had tests” since the hearing date of the case in June.

Mr Moylan said, “I asked Mr Mountaine when he first applied for a test and he sent me this – November 2020”.

He added, “Mr Mountaine sent them an email last week and still no date”.

Judge Gabbett said, “When you log into the system they should tell you your date – that is why I was hoping there should be a print out”.

Mr Moylan said that the online system has told Mr Mountaine said that they will email him directly when slots become available to book.

Judge Gabbett said “if you miss that, it is putting it back”.

At the hearing of the case in June, Judge Gabbett said that Mr Mountaine was continuing to break the law by driving around unaccompanied before adjourning the case as he wanted Mr Mountaine to obtain a full licence.

Judge Gabbett made his comment at the hearing in June after stating that he is to convict provisional licence holder, John Mountaine (41) of holding a mobile phone while driving, driving unaccompanied and driving without L plate at Lack West, Kilmihil, Co Clare.

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 said that Mr Mountaine “by his admission is continuing to break the law by driving around unaccompanied. He has reasons for that but that doesn’t make them valid”.

Judge Gabbett said that Mr Mountaine has a peculiar set of circumstances where he has six children, his partner works in Dublin for a significant portion of the week and he has to drive.

Mr Mountaine told the court that he has been harassed by Gardaí since his partner’s election as a TD in February 2021.

In response to Mr Mountaine’s harassment claim, Sgt Louis Moloney told Judge Gabbett “I don’t want this case to be used as a vehicle in order to have multiple cheap shots at Gardaí who are doing their duty”.

In reply, Mr Mountaine said last June “I would never do that.”

Judge Gabbett has now further adjourned the case to January 16th. He said, “I need a print out from that webpage to show where he is in terms of that process”.

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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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