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'In a rush' Law graduate (44) who drove at garda at Covid checkpoint convicted of careless driving

Maebh Mattimoe (44), from Lecarrow, Strandhill, was in court charged with dangerous driving but was instead convicted of careless driving and fined €300.

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Judge's hammer on wooden table

Judge's hammer on wooden table

Judge's hammer on wooden table

A SLIGO law graduate who drove at a garda at a Covid-19 checkpoint after refusing to give her name has said she was “just stating a point” and “it wasn’t like burning wheels or anything like that”.

Maebh Mattimoe, who has a postgraduate diploma in law and was never in any previous trouble with gardai, was carrying a copy of Bunreacht na hEireann when she stopped at a checkpoint on Burma Road in Strandhill on February 6.

Sligo District Court was told she was refused to give her details, was very aggressive and told gardai they had no right to stop her and she wasn’t waiting.

Garda Shane O’Rourke raised his hand as a signal for her not to move but she revved her engine and started to drive forcing the garda to jump out of the way before giving chase.

Mattimoe (44), from Lecarrow, Strandhill, was in court charged with dangerous driving but was instead convicted of careless driving and fined €300.

She told the Sunday World that she didn’t think gardai had authority to stop her and she was in a rush that day.

“I was pulled over at a checkpoint and I indicated that I really have to go and get my message.

“I was just standing up for my constitutional rights on behalf of the Irish people and that’s really it in a nutshell.

"I had Bunreacht na hEireann with me that was my argument. I wasn’t being aggressive. I was really just stating a point.”

She said she wasn’t trying to run over Garda O’Rourke.

“It wasn’t like that.

"I just moved slowly off. That was it. I gave an indication that I really had to go but it wasn’t like burning wheels or anything like that. I was just trying to get away from him.”

Mattimoe continued driving after Garda O’Rourke jumped out of the way and officers gave chase before blocking her in.

Her solicitor Mark Mullaney said Mattimoe got upset about being stopped going about her daily business and had “certain views” about Covid restrictions.

He added she did not have her licence with her and was panicked.

He said Mattimoe accepts Garda O’Rourke had to move out of the way and said she made a “very rash decision”.

Judge Kevin Kilrane said he did not see it as a rash act as she had a copy of Bunreacht na hEireann with her.

He said while she was entitled to have the constitution with her the sequence of events with her showing it to gardai before driving off showed premeditation to the offence.

Judge Kilrane said dangerous driving demands certain intent and Mattimoe decided to bully the garda out of the way and she left him with no option but to jump out of her way.

However, after Mattimoe agreed on oath at the request of the judge to stop and give information at future checkpoints, he convicted her of the lesser charge of careless driving and fined her €300.

Mattimoe has a number of qualifications in design and a diploma in law.

She has no previous convictions.

The incident is not the first time Garda O’Rourke has been driven at while on duty.

A driver who had been clocked going at almost 200kph in a 100kph zone smashed into a garda car being operated by Garda O’Rourke and his colleague Garda Michael O’Shea during a high speed chase in Sligo in 2010.


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