Minister for Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan’s car insurance was out of date by three days when she rang gardai after an incident occurred with a lorry outside her home in Graignamanagh on February 4, 2014.
She had presumed she was insured and it was she who drew the attention of the garda to the fact that her disc had expired.
She has apologised for what was a complete oversight on her part and that she was sorry for any embarrassment caused.
“I messed up myself, the insurance ran out on the Friday night and I didn’t use the car again until the following Tuesday morning when I was stopped,” she said.
The irony is that the other car in the driveway was fully insured.
Minister Phelan was convicted for having no insurance at last Monday’s sitting of Kilkenny District Court. She entered a plea through her solicitor. The prosecuting Garda accepted that there had been a genuine misunderstanding.
Judge Eamon O’Brien indicated that in those circumstances he would not impose a disqualification and dealt with the matter by way of a €300 fine.
“It is a case human error on my part and I personally called the Gardaí myself. I went through all the normal channels like every other citizen and it was accepted by the court that it was a genuine misunderstanding. I have received a fine with no disqualification.”
“I know that there will be many questions in relation to this, I accept that from the point of view of perception, in my capacity as a public representative, that this is not what is expected but like everyone else, I am human and these things can occur. I did not expect to be treated any different than anyone else.”
The incident occurred on February 4, 2014 before Ms Phelan was appointed a minister.
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