Woman quits job as social worker after drink-drive fine and ban

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A woman who parked opposite Lurgan police station and appeared to be drunk was later found to be almost four times the legal limit.

Elizabeth O’Neill, 44, of Belvedere Manor, Lurgan, admitted driving with excess alcohol in her breath on July 19 this year.

She was fined £350, ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy and banned for 12 months.

The court heard that at 9.50pm the defendant got out of a Mini car opposite Lurgan police station and approached a constable in the sanger.

She appeared to be drunk and was carrying keys. She made inquiries about somebody’s well being.

O’Neill said: “My husband didn’t drive. I did.”

An evidential breath test gave a reading of 124.

A solicitor representing the defendant said her client had nothing previous on her record and had been driving for 25 years.

She explained that O’Neill had been at a ‘leaving do’ that night for a colleague and had gone home in a taxi.

The solicitor said that she was in bed when she received a text from her daughter that her boyfriend had been involved in an incident and taken to Lurgan police station.

She added that the defendant, who was a social worker, knew the boy had a speech impediment and jumped in her car. “She resigned her job the very next day,” the solicitor told the court.

District Judge Bernie Kelly said O’Neill’s credibility was now shot.

“One hundred and twenty four in breath and she’s behind the wheel of a car,” added the judge. “How would she feel if she had killed somebody on that journey?”

The defence solicitor said she knew the embarrassment she had brought on herself.