Michaella McCollum's brother borrows sister's excuse in drink-driving rap
The brother of 'Peru 2' drug mule Michaella McCollum 'borrowed' her defence when he appeared in court on a charge of drink driving.
Ryan McCollum (29) of Cloneen, Dungannon, used the same excuse in court last week that his sister Michaella used when she finally admitted trying to smuggle £1.5m worth of cocaine into Spain.
McCollum, who has never held a driving licence or insurance, took his best friend's van without permission in order to spend time with a girl he had met earlier in the night.
However, he was also heavily intoxicated.
His solicitor told the court that McCollum had done all this in a "moment of madness".
That's exactly what his drug-smuggling sister said when she gave an interview to RTE hours after being released from a Peruvian jail where she had served three years.
Michaella, who had until then always claimed she had been forced into taking the drugs, admitted she agreed to become a cocaine smuggler.
McCollum told RTÉ in April 2016 that she had been "very naive, so young and very insecure" when she attempted to smuggle the cocaine.
"But, simply, I made a decision in my moment of madness."
Ryan McCollum used the same defence in court when explaining how he came to be driving drunk without insurance or a licence.
Police noted a vehicle driving around Parkanaur Forest Park just before 11pm on March 27.
On speaking with McCollum, it was noted his eyes were glazed and he smelled strongly of alcohol.
He was arrested and while in custody provided a breath sample of 95mcg of alcohol - 60mcg over the legal limit.
McCollum - who has used his Facebook page to eulogise dissident terrorists - couldn't have been more helpful when he was interviewed by the police.
During interviews, he admitted all matters and confirmed driving around for four miles before being detected.
He stated he had never held a driving licence or insurance and admitted going to the home of his friend, taking the keys of his van and driving it without authority.
And in court, McCollum continued to be contrite.
A defence solicitor told Dungannon Magistrates Court his client had permission to be in the friend's house but not to take the van.
He explained McCollum had met a girl, taken the van and driven to the forest park "in order to spend time with her".
The defence said: “"It was a moment of madness which my client regrets."
Deputy District Judge Paul Conway noted that McCollum had a very bad record but for the last seven years had stayed out of trouble.
He said: "Only for the hiatus in offending I would be looking at a more serious disposal."
McCollum was fined a total of £500 and disqualified from driving for three years.
It also emerged that the Dungannon man is a supporter of the controversial 32 County Sovereignty Movement.
On social media, he described Real IRA gunman Vinnie Ryan and leader brother Alan - who were both murdered - as 'revolutionaries'.
One of the posts on Ryan McCollum's Facebook page
McCollum regularly posts pictures of IRA funerals from the Troubles and recently showed his support for the Ryan brothers.
Vinnie Ryan is believed to have been killed on the orders of a Dublin drugs boss in March 2016.
His elder brother Alan (32), who was head of the Real IRA in Dublin, was killed in similar circumstances in September 2012.