Gardai who stopped a van found 14 people inside including nine children – none of whom were wearing seat belts.

Inspector David Kelly told Letterkenny District Court that Gardai stopped a Transit van at College Road on February 17th, 2011.

The van was being driven by mum-of-three Margaret McDonagh, 27, of 109 Meadowbank, Letterkenny.

She told Gardai that she was returning from a family wedding and was giving a number of people a lift home.

Solicitor Patsy Gallagher told the court that there was no question of speed and that Mrs McDonagh was being very careful.

He also said she had not been drinking at the wedding.

However Judge Paul Kelly said he took a serious view of the situation considering none of the people under seventeen years of age were wearing safety belts.

“The biggest problem here is the risk to the children. She took a serious risk in that someone could have run into the back of her and caused a serious injury,” he said.

He fined Mrs McDonagh €100 for allowing a person under seventeen years of age to be driven without a seat belt and took all other charges into consideration.

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