Wednesday 26 October 2016

‘I’m the Queen’, Dolores shouted before headbutting garda in attack

Dolores O’Riordan appears at Ennis District Court on charges relating to the ‘air rage’ incident Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Dolores O’Riordan appears at Ennis District Court on charges relating to the ‘air rage’ incident Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

An out-of-control Dolores O’Riordan shouted “I’m an icon, I’m the Queen of Limerick” during an air rage incident at Shannon airport where she head-butted and spat in the face of a garda.

During the incident on November 10 last year, Inspector Tom Kennedy yesterday told Ennis District Court that the 44-year-old Cranberries singer also spat in the face of, and kicked out at, an Airport Police Officer (APO).

In the case, Ms O’Riordan has pleaded guilty to three assaults – two on APOs and one on a garda – along with resisting arrest.


Insp Kennedy said that Ms O’Riordan had become unruly onboard a Shannon-bound Aer Lingus flight from JFK in New York, during which she stood on the foot of flight attendant, Carmel Coyne, and hurt her ankle severely.

Insp Kennedy said that, after Ms O’Riordan was detained on the plane touching down, she made two separate escapes from custody – from an ambulance and a patrol car on the tarmac.

Insp Kennedy said that Ms O’Riordan spat in the face of APO Eamon Power “and he had to restrain her”, before she “started to kick back at him, hitting him in the shins. At this stage, it had become more serious and difficult”.

In one incident, Insp Kennedy said that the mother-of-three told Garda Dawson: “You can’t arrest me. I’m an icon. I’m the Queen of Limerick.

“You don’t know who you are dealing with. I pay my taxes, so I pay your wages and I am going to sue you.”

Insp Kennedy added: “Ms O’Riordan was quite irrational, quite aggressive, quite difficult.”

The Inspector said that after apprehending her when she escaped from the patrol car, Ms O’Riordan “turned around and headbutted Garda Dawson and spat into his face.”

“She then alleged that Garda Dawson had ‘grabbed her t*t’ and claimed that he sexually assaulted her by groping at her. It was a very nasty situation for Garda Dawson,” he added.

Solicitor for Ms O’Riordan, Bill O’Donnell, immediately accepted on behalf of Ms O’Riordan that there was no substance to the allegation made by his client against Garda Dawson. In his plea of mitigation, he said that “these were the actions of a very, very ill person”.

“Ms O’Riordan was going through a very, very difficult time, having recently separated from her husband of 20 years,” Mr O’Donnell said.

“She moved to New York city and hadn’t seen her children – aged 18, 14 and 10 – for two months, who live in Canada. She was living out of a suitcase in New York city.

“All her actions were reactionary and she did not deliberately set out to cause any harm or cause any assault. She genuinely felt she was under attack – that she was under siege.”


He handed in medical evidence on Ms O’Riordan’s psychiatric condition, with one psychiatrist concluding that Ms O’Riordan’s actions “were of a person suffering a severe psychiatric illness”.

He said there was no intention by Mr O’Riordan to commit the actions on the day and she doesn’t remember what fully occurred.

Judge Patrick Durcan requested that Ms O’Riordan apologise in writing to

the victims. Mr O’Donnell pleaded with Judge Durcan not to impose a criminal conviction. He said that

this could have consequences on her travelling to see her children in Canada, as well as for her career.

Sentencing was adjourned to the New Year.

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