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Bus driver who stole a rival’s timetables wants a promotion

October 31st, 2022 9:45 PM

By Southern Star Team

Photo: Shutterstock

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A 53-YEAR West Cork old bus driver who stole the competition’s timetables has avoided a conviction in the district court.

Judge James McNulty said he would deal leniently with Shaun Coakley of Chapel Street, Dunmanway, who pleaded guilty to two charges of stealing bus signs – one at Old Chapel in Bandon and one at Market Square in Dunmanway.

Charges of stealing two other signs – one at Main Street in Drimoleague and another at Wolfe Tone Square in Bantry – were withdrawn at Bantry District Court by Sgt Trish O’Sullivan for the prosecution.

The sergeant said the signs – which were stolen ‘on dates unknown’ in December 2021 – were the property of Dave Long Coach Travel, operating as West Cork Connect, and each were valued at €120.

‘The thefts were reported to Gda William O’Shea and Shaun Coakley was identified as a suspect,’ said the sergeant, who confirmed that two of the signs were recovered but two had been damaged beyond use.

John Collins, solicitor defending, said his client is an employee of Bus Éireann and he felt the competition was a threat to his job.

He pointed out that his client has a 30-year blemish-free licence, 20 of which were in West Cork.

‘It was a foolish thing to do,’ he added. ‘He co-operated fully and is deeply apologetic.’ 

The solicitor also informed the court that Shaun Coakley has apologised to and compensated Mr Long for his loss.

Appealing for leniency, Mr Collins said Mr Coakley is looking for promotion to become a bus driving instructor and a conviction would have serious consequences for his employment.

‘This is a bit ironic,’ Judge McNulty remarked, but the solicitor insisted his actions were ‘out of character’ and he would be ‘unlikely to find himself in this situation again.’

‘This must be very embarrassing for him,’ the judge acknowledged, ‘but it’s too serious for a dismissal under the Probation Act.’

Judge McNulty said he would deal with the accused by way of a conditional discharge, which means the accused would enter into a bond for €1,000 to be of good behaviour for the next three years.

If he doesn’t come to the attention of the gardaí, the judge said the bond would be returned to the accused and he would avoid a conviction for theft.

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