A CATHOLIC priest has been banned from driving for three years this week after being caught four times over the alcohol limit at a Garda checkpoint.
Fr Patrick McGinn, 56, was behind the wheel in Monaghan Town last summer when he got pulled over by Gardaí – who said the clergyman smelled of booze.
Fr McGinn, who presides over St Joseph's Presbytery on Park Street in the town, was arrested and taken to Monaghan Garda Station.
A breath test found he had 94 micrograms over 100 millilitres in his system – four times the legal blood alcohol limit in Ireland.
The cleric pleaded guilty to drink driving at Monaghan District Court on Thursday.
The court heard that the incident occurred in Aghananimy, Monaghan Town on July 6, 2016 and that Gardaí instantly smelled alcohol on the priest after pulling him over.
Judge John Cheetle handed him a mandatory three-year driving ban upon hearing that Fr McGinn had no previous convictions.
His three-year disqualification is the standard punishment for anyone caught with over 66 micrograms on their breath in Ireland.
Fr McGinn was not fined for the offence.
Judge Cheetle agreed to a request to delay Fr McGinn’s ban until January 31, so he can continue to serve his congregation through the busy Christmas period.