A LOCAL cleric who verbally abused gardaí after being caught speeding intends to appeal his driving ban.
At Ennis District Court earlier this month, Rev Bob Hanna (68), the Rector of St Columba’s Church in Ennis, was banned for driving for six months after being convicted of driving in excess of the speed limit on the dual carriageway at Bunratty West on April 17, 2014.
Disqualifying Canon Hanna from driving for six months, Judge Patrick Durcan described the cleric’s abusive conduct towards the garda as “despicable”.
In her evidence, Garda Elizabeth McDonagh of Ennis Garda Station told the court she stopped Canon Hanna’s car during a speed check.
Garda McDonagh said Canon Hanna asked why he was being stopped and became verbally abusive towards her after being stopped.
The court heard Canon Hanna told gardaí he was on his way to a communion.
Garda McDonagh told the court she stated to Canon Hanna that he had been traveling at 135 km/h in an area where the speed limit is 100 km/h.
She said Canon Hanna replied by saying; “I don’t give a f***. I’m late”.
Garda McDonagh said Canon Hanna “snapped” his driver’s license back from her, got back into his car and repeatedly revved the engine.
At this point, Garda McDonagh said Canon Hanna said, “I’m leaving, chase me if you want”.
Canon Hanna, with an address at The Rectory, Bindon Street, Ennis, was not present and was not legally represented in court for the brief hearing.
“Now that I know the defendant is a Minister of Religion, I am even more appalled”, Judge Durcan said. Judge Durcan imposed a € 500 f ne and, by way of ancillary order, disqualif ed Canon Hanna from holding a driver’s license for six months.
After the case, Canon Hanna apologised for his outburst.
In a statement, the Archbishop’s Commissary of the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe, Archdeacon Wayne Carney, said;
“I have spoken to Canon Hanna, and he deeply regrets using abusive language to the garda who stopped him, and wishes to apologise to her for his behaviour”.
Canon Hanna was present at Ennis District Court on Wednesday when he successfully applied to extend time to lodge an appeal.
When the application was called, his solicitor Caoimhe Collins told Judge Durcan the conviction related to a speeding offence.
The Judge extended time to lodge the appeal to December 31, 2014 and f xed recognisance at Canon Hanna’s own bond of € 250. Canon Hanna is permitted to remain driving pending the appeal.