herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Garda McCabe killer attacked with a machete

One of the killers of Det Gda Jerry McCabe has been attacked at his home by two men, one wielding a machete.

Michael O'Neill (63) was one of four people convicted of the June 1996 manslaughter of Det McCabe, who was shot dead by members of an IRA gang in Adare, Co Limerick.

He was jailed in February 1999 for 11 years and was released in 2007.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said at the time that he was disgusted by his early release.

sleeping

A source yesterday confirmed that O'Neill's home in Abbeyville, Ennis, Co Clare, was the subject of a recent 3am attack by two men, when all the windows of two cars parked outside were smashed.

O'Neill received a blow to the head when the men broke the window of the front room of the house where he was sleeping.

A glass panel in the front door was also broken.

The two attackers, who fled the scene, were described as being in their early 20s and had light-coloured hair.

An ambulance arrived at the house, but O'Neill refused any treatment.

The damage to the cars and the house is estimated at around €2,000.

A garda spokesman said an investigation is continuing, but no arrests have been made.

The attack was the second incident at the property where O'Neill lives in a converted garage with his partner.

Last May, he appeared before Ennis District Court in relation to two charges arising from an incident outside the house in the early hours of January 21, 2013.

Giving evidence, Sgt Mark Murphy said O'Neill "took the law into his own hands" and was "the main aggressor" when he confronted another man with a wheel brace.

O'Neill was charged with producing a wheel brace capable of inflicting serious injury in a public place and engaging in threatening and abusive words with intention to cause a breach of the peace.

O'Neill's solicitor, Tara Godfrey, said her client had produced the wheel brace to repel five men after honestly believing that one of them had damaged his car.

Ms Godfrey said O'Neill said he would say in evidence that he did shout out and said: "What have you f***ing done? Which one of you broke up my f***ing car?"

dismissal

Ms Godfrey said the men told O'Neill "to get the f*** back into the flat or we will beat the f*** out of you", and it was then he went to his car to get the brace.

After an application for a dismissal by Ms Godfrey, who said the charge failed as the incident did not take place in a public place, Judge Mary Larkin agreed and dismissed the charges against O'Neill.

She said: "It is quite clear that the law doesn't extend the public place to a private roadway."

hnews@herald.ie

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