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'car-azy' Yacht broker banned from driving his Ferrari FF in Ireland after he's clocked at 193km/h

The judge asked gardaí: 'Did he get to the sound barrier'


Niall Heaney

Niall Heaney

Niall Heaney

MEET the yacht broker banned from driving a high-powered Ferrari FF - after he was clocked overtaking three cars at an incredible 193km/h.

Niall Heaney, the boss of Gulf Stream Boat Sales, is a familiar face to yachting enthusiasts on Instagram where he uses promotional videos of boat outings to boost the Derry company's sales.

But it was his 'car-azy' driving on land that brought him to the attention of gardai in Donegal on November 22 last year - when officers spotted him as he whizzed by in a car sporting features to rival those on even the most expensive yacht in his yard.

Heaney's Ferrari FF - a grand tourer boasting four seats and four wheel-drive - maxes out at a top speed of 335km/h and can accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds.

Such was the power of the vehicle, Judge Alan Mitchell admitted in Buncrana District Court this week that Heaney could easily have evaded gardai by escaping across the border had he so wished.

Heaney, of Groarty Road, Derry, was originally summonsed to appear before the District Court on a charge of dangerous driving at Bohillion, Burt, on November 22, 2021. However, the charge was reduced to one of careless driving on the day of the sitting.

Sergeant Jim Collins said gardai had observed Heaney's black Ferrari FF passing three cars at a speed of 193km/h.

"Did he get to the sound barrier?" an incredulous Judge Alan Mitchell asked.

The court heard that the location is around half a mile from the border.

Solicitor for Heaney, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said his client, a father-of-two who employs around 30 people, made 'one split second stupid mistake'.

"He accepts his wrong-doing," Mr Gallagher said "He has apologised profusely. This whole situation was totally out of character. He is very much involved in valuable organisations. He didn't think the gardai were coming after him.

"He pulled in once he saw the blue lights."

Mr Gallagher said the Ferrari in question, a special edition model, was with a specialised dealer in England and was up for sale, with Heaney now driving a Ford Ranger.

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Sergeant Collins told the court that Heaney was 'fully co-operative' and was 'very close to the border' when the incident occurred.

Judge Mitchell said it was in Heaney's favour that he had pulled in for gardai.

"If he wished to evade, he was very close. He could have kept going and that would have been the end of the matter."

Judge Mitchell added that he was 'not impressed' by the event.

Heaney, who made a €1,500 donation to the Donegal Hospice, was fined €400.

Judge Mitchell asked if Heaney would agree not to drive the car in the Republic of Ireland again and he agreed.

Mr Heaney was not at his home when the Sunday World called there on Sunday.

A relative said: "I wouldn't think he will be appealing."

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