Fianna Fail TD James O’Connor participates in the Zoom call while...

Fianna Fáil TD James O’Connor took part in a group zoom call while driving.

Mr. O’Connor was behind the wheel while attending the party’s weekly video conference call.

Gardai regards the practice as a possible criminal offense in road traffic law.

The Cork East TD has confirmed to the Irish Mirror that it has “zoomed” while driving.

More than 30 other PP members (TD), senators and MPs attended the call on Wednesday September 30th.

The 23-year-old O’Connor, the youngest TD in the Dáil, admitted his possible offense to the Spiegel.

Fianna Fail TD James O’Connor
(Image: Stephen Collins / Collins Photos)

A Fianna Fàil spokesman said: “Deputy O’Connor attended Fianna Fàil’s PP meeting for a short while on a speakerphone in his car while driving from Mount Street to Leinster House for about three minutes.

“Deputy O’Connor was contributing to the call for the PP when he got to his office at Leinster House.”

The Cork East TD drove while attending his party’s weekly PP (Parliamentary Part) session conducted through Zoom.

A Garda Síochána has confirmed to Irish Spiegel that videoconferencing may be a criminal offense that can be punished with penalties for a number of reasons, as serious as losing your license.

The possible criminal offenses are “dangerous driving, careless driving or driving without care and attention”.

In the Irish Mirror exclusive video, Mr. O’Connor is clearly seen at the wheel of his car in the gallery of TDs, Senators and MEPs attending the PP meeting.

Another TD who was on the same call told the mirror, “I couldn’t believe it when I saw him.

“At first I thought someone had included a video of James Corden in their carpool karaoke sketch.

“I thought it was a joke.

“But of course it is a very serious matter.”

Zoom, Google Meets and other video calling apps have grown in popularity since the Covid pandemic in March and people have had to work from home more.

But the Gardaí see anyone who takes part in such calls while driving, very badly.

James O’Connor von Fianna Fail

A spokeswoman told the Irish Mirror that although there is not yet a specific offense for zoom driving, as it is a relatively new technology, a perpetrator can be punished under current legislation.

She said “it could be a crime that, depending on the circumstances, is handled carefully and attentively”.

And then she specifically referred us to the RSA (Road Safety Authority) guidelines on the matter.

“Using a speakerphone with your phone is not illegal, but it will prevent you from focusing for short periods of time when using your phone, and it puts other people on the road at risk. “You could be prosecuted for driving dangerously, driving carelessly, or driving without care and attention.

“And you could also have your license confirmed or even lose your license.”

This is more severe than the regular catch on your phone penalty.

“If the Gardaí charges you for a cell phone violation and driving, you will receive a fixed fee of € 60.

“If you pay the fixed fee, you get 3 penalty points.

“If you choose not to pay the fixed fee and are then tried in court, you will receive 5 penalty points and a fine of up to € 2,000.

“Twelve penalty points on your driver’s license lead to the disqualification of the driver. However, there is an even lower threshold of 7 penalty points for learner drivers and novice drivers.

It also states: “You can only use your mobile phone while driving, if you call 999 or 112 or in an emergency.

“It is a criminal offense to hold a mobile phone in your hand or to support it with another part of the body, for example between your head and shoulder when you are driving.

“Since April 2014, it has also been illegal to send or read a text message on a mobile phone while driving.

The RSA Council adds: “Hands-free kits or bluetooth systems can be just as distracting while driving, so you should never use these accessories.”

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