BY OLIVIA KELLEHER
A MAN has been jailed for three years for subjecting a garda to a terrifying ordeal during which she was dragged 80ft along a road as she hung from a car door.
Last week, Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Det Garda Catherine McCarthy – the first woman ever to be appointed to the divisional drugs unit – approached a car at Creagh in Baltimore on April 8th 2021 having witnessed Martin Keohane (34) buying a couple of hundred euro worth of cannabis from a dealer.
She told Mr Keohane to stop and identified herself as a member of An Garda Siochana. Mr Keohane, of Derrygareen, Skibbereen, attempted to drive off. Det Garda McCarthy was trying to take his car keys out of the ignition when the incident happened.
The pioneering detective said in her victim impact statement that she has suffered a huge change in her quality of life since the incident.
‘The constant pain I have in my neck, mid and lower-back impede me from being an active mother to my young children. I cannot run around and play games with them.
‘I played sport for over 20 years prior to having children. Sitting on the floor making jigsaws or colouring is a painful task. Lifting them is too much of a struggle. I experience a lot of guilt for my children as I feel I’m not the mother they had/deserve. I feel they have been cheated.
‘Professionally, I feel my career is suffering due to my extended periods of absence. I am missing out on on-going investigations. This bothers me greatly. I miss being involved and part of the team.
‘Outwardly, I appear healthy. Physically I am constantly struggling to get through small tasks and needing relief from pain. I’m constantly wearing medicated pain patches, taking painkillers and medications to elevate my mood/PTSD/sleep.’
Mr Keohane pleaded guilty to three dangerous driving causing serious harm charges at Creagh, Baltimore. He also pleaded guilty to a charge of endangerment, impeding a garda in the course of her duty, and to possession of cannabis for sale or supply.
He offered €2,500 in compensation to the impacted garda, which she respectfully declined. However, she has now asked that it be donated to Togher Family Resource Centre in Cork.
Defence barrister Tom Creed said that his client was aware of the devastation he had caused the detective and had remorse for it. Mr Keohane had a problem with alcohol as a younger man and then ‘migrated to cannabis’. He is seeking help for his issues surrounding cannabis use.
In sentencing Mr Keohane, Judge Boyle acknowledged that he was genuinely remorseful for his actions. But she said that Keohane had driven off at speed knowing that a member of An Garda Siochana was being dragged along the road.
Taking the plea into consideration, and the lack of a history of other serious offences of this nature, she jailed the father-of-one for four years, suspending the last year of the sentence.
She disqualified him from driving for a period of four years.