The socialite Valerie Roe has narrowly escaped losing her driving licence after she pleaded guilty to her fourth speeding offence in as many years.
Ms. Roe, (52) with an address at 14 Oakglen, Craddockstown, Naas was stopped by Garda Ronan Mannion on August 19 last.
Sitting at Naas District Court earlier today, Wednesday, March 6, Judge Desmond Zaidan heard evidence that she was caught travelling at 135kph in a 100 kph zone on the N7 at Blackchurch, Kill, Co. Kildare.
Ms. Roe, a sister of model Gillian Quinn and sister-in-law of footballer Niall Quinn, faced speeding charges in 2009, 2010 and 2012.
She also has a previous conviction for driving with no insurance.
Garda Mannion gave evidence that there was almost no traffic on the road at the time and that she was very apologetic when stopped.
Her solicitor Cairbre Finan Jnr told the court that his client was taking the matter very seriously. “She’s very nervous about this case.”
“Why should I not disqualify her?” Judge Zaidan asked. “Once, I can understand. Twice, maybe, depending on the circumstances – but four times? Come on!” he said.
“Well Judge, the loss of her licence would be extremely detrimental to her,” the solicitor explained. “She needs the car for her work.”
The Judge asked what Ms. Roe did for a living, and was told that she owns her own public relations, marketing and event management firm.
“I have to strike a balance between being fair to your client and the concerns of road safety,” the Judge said. “I’ve given people a chance when it’s their first time, but she has three previous for speeding – and there’s the no insurance as well.”
“I can only say that she relies heavily on her vehicle. A lot of her work is in Dublin and all over the general Leinster region,” Mr. Finan explained, although he conceded he “couldn’t get away from the fact of the previous convictions”.
The matter was adjourned briefly to allow for a discussion between Mr. Finan and the prosecuting Garda Inspector Patsy Glennon.
When the case resumed, Mr. Finan told the court that matter had upset his client greatly. He said that she was willing to make a sizable charitable contribution in lieu of a conviction.
“Do you realise the difficult position I’m in?” Judge Zaidan asked the defendant.
“If I give you a chance the papers will have a field day.”
She indicated that she understood.
“Don’t appear before me again,” he told her sternly.
“I won’t, thank you,” she replied quietly.
Ms. Roe has until June 5 to make a donation of €1,500, to be divided three ways equally between Mount Offaly House in Athy, Michael Garry House in Newbridge and the Jack and Jill Children’s Foundation.