Off-duty Garda who failed roadside breathalyser test convicted of careless driving

Off-Duty Garda Who Failed Roadside Breathalyser Test Convicted Of Careless Driving
David Kenneally (41) was convicted of careless driving arising from a late night "very low-impact" collision with a taxi on his way home from the pub. Photo: PA Images
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Gordon Deegan

A serving Garda in Co Clare who failed a roadside breath-test for alcohol has been convicted of careless driving arising from a late night "very low-impact" collision with a taxi on his way home from the pub.

At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Judge Alec Gabbett imposed a fine of €500 on David Kenneally (41), of Tulla Rd, Ennis after he changed his plea to guilty regarding one of the charges he faced.


The court heard the incident happened on Abbey Street in Ennis at 1.55am on February 5th, 2022, when Kenneally collided with the back of a taxi at "less than 10km per hour".

Kenneally's counsel, David Staunton BL, instructed by solicitor Daragh Hassett, asked Judge Gabbett to be as lenient as he could, stating his client has already endured a number of significant ancillary penalties beyond what a normal citizen would endure which have impacted his professional and personal life.

Mr Staunton said his client has been suspended from the Gardaí since the offence occurred and “there will be consequences for him elsewhere as well”.

State solicitor Aiden Judge described what happened on the night as "an unfortunate incident", noting that Kenneally has no previous convictions.


Kenneally initially pleaded not guilty to three charges of careless driving, drink-driving and frustrating a Garda prosecution at Abbey Street, Ennis on February 5th, 2022.

However, he changed his plea to the careless driving charge after the State withdrew the more serious charges of drink-driving and frustrating a prosecution.

After the court had heard from several State witnesses, Mr Judge told Judge Gabbett that the State was not offering any evidence in respect of driving under the influence of alcohol, nor was it offering any evidence in relation to the frustration of a prosecution.

Mr Judge confirmed the change in the State’s case after earlier asking for a brief adjournment.



Mr Judge requested the adjournment after Garda evidence concerning the sequencing of Kenneally and Evidencer machine operator, Garda Andrew McGee, signing the print out of the Garda Evidencer machine after Kenneally had provided a breath sample at Ennis Garda station after 3.30am on February 5th, 2022.

Garda McGee said the Evidencer machine test for Kenneally showed a reading of 51 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, which is over the legal limit for driving.

Earlier in evidence, Sgt David Hannon said that at 1.55am, he received a report of a collision on Abbey Street, outside Knox’s pub.

Sgt Hannon said that when he got to the scene, Kenneally called him over "and told me that he was driving one of the vehicles and crashed into the back of a taxi".


Sgt Hannon told the court that he went up to the taxi-driver "and I asked him if he was okay, and he said that he had a pain in his neck and back and he requested an ambulance".

He said that while he was briefing a Duty Sergeant by phone, he noted Kenneally walking down a laneway beside Knox’s pub. Sgt Hannon told the court Kenneally came back up to the corner "and I saw him pick up a pint of Guinness off a table outside the pub".

Sgt Hannon said: "I took the pint of Guinness off him and put it back down on the ground."

He said Kenneally then provided a roadside breath sample for drink-driving, "and this returned a fail".


Kenneally was then arrested on suspicion of drink-driving, and was taken to Ennis Garda station.

The court heard Kenneally had been out socialising with Darren McGill, to whom he offered a lift home.

Giving evidence, Mr McGill told the court he did not know if Kenneally had been drinking in the pub.

Mr McGill said that while driving up Abbey Street, Kenneally's Ford Mondeo had "tipped" a car in front.

He agreed with Kenneally's counsel that he told gardaí in his statement that the collision occurred "at a speed of less than 10km per hour".

Mr McGill agreed that the collision did not cause any damage to either vehicle, and said he also observed Kenneally taking a drink from a pint glass in a laneway after the incident.

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