Limerick woman admits offences that left off-duty Garda with life-changing injuries

Niall Flood attending the presentation of proceeds of a fundraising Golf Classic to the CRITICAL air ambulance service.

A COUNTY Limerick woman has pleaded guilty to drink-driving and dangerous-driving offences that left an off-duty senior Garda with “life changing injuries”.

At Limerick Circuit Court on Monday Niamh McDonnell (30) of Gortskagh, Castlemahon admitted two charges arising out of a collision in West Limerick on June 30, 2022.

Ms McDonnell was initially charged last December with eight offences arising out of the incident, which left Garda Inspector Niall Flood with serious injuries.

The charges included dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm; dangerous driving; drink driving; drug driving; no insurance; failing to stop following a collision; failing to offer assistance; and failing to keep a vehicle at or near the scene of the incident.

The prosecution accepted Ms McDonnell’s pleas to two of the charges, drink-driving and dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm to Mr Flood.

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Mr Flood, who was stationed at Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick City, was cycling along a stretch of the R522 at Conmore, Dromcollogher, last June, when a car driven by Ms McDonnell struck him.

Prosecution counsel Lilly Buckley said Mr Flood sustained “life-changing injuries.

The Garda Inspector was thrown from his bike in the impact and was treated at the scene by paramedics before being airlifted by the Irish Community Air Ambulance charity, CRITICAL, to Cork University Hospital where he underwent surgery.

Mr Flood’s wife, Margaret Flood, attended Ms McDonnell’s arraignment hearing before Judge Tom O’Donnell.

The defendant did not speak during the hearing, other than to confirm she was pleading “guilty” to the two charges.

Brian McInerney SC, representing Ms McDonnell, asked that a pre-sentencing report be provided by the probation service.

Judge Tom O’Donnell granted this application and he remanded Ms McDonnell on continuing bail for the case to be mentioned before Limerick Circuit Court again on July 3, when a date for sentencing is expected to be scheduled.

On April 21, CRITICAL chief executive Michael Sheridan tweeted how he was grateful after the charity received a €20,000 donation from Mr Flood, which had been raised by  Margaret Flood and his Garda colleagues.

Tweeting a photograph of himself, along with Mr Flood, and a colleague, Mr Sheridan wrote: “It was a pleasure to meet with @GardaTraffic Inspector Niall Flood today. Niall was involved in a road traffic accident last year while out cycling and at that time our helicopter responded to him. Today we received over €20,000 raised in gratitude to our charity.”