herald

Friday 19 October 2018

Neighbours' family fight 'a disgrace', says judge

'The incident happened after words were exchanged between members of the two families at a local shopping centre.' (stock photo)
'The incident happened after words were exchanged between members of the two families at a local shopping centre.' (stock photo)

A judge has said a fight between two neighbouring families in Clondalkin was a "disgrace" and a "distasteful affair".

Members of the McDonagh family "initiated the attack" on the O'Reilly family when they arrived at their home armed with a sickle, two hurleys and a baton, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

The incident happened after words were exchanged between members of the two families at a local shopping centre.

Martin McDonagh Snr (49), his wife Ellen McDonagh (45), their daughters Nora McDonagh (20) and Helen McDonagh (19) and daughter-in-law Shannon Sherlock (20) pleaded guilty to violent disorder in Oldcastle Drive on November 19, 2016.

Whiskey

Garda Ronan O'Malley told the court that there were difficulties between the two families at the time.

The court heard that Martin McDonagh Snr had a sickle, Ellen McDonagh and Helen McDonagh had hurleys and Sherlock had a baton when they arrived at the O'Reillys' house. Nora McDonagh was unarmed.

Having viewed the CCTV footage, Judge Martin Nolan said there was a "large amount of attempts" by the McDonaghs to hit the O'Reilly family but no serious injuries were inflicted.

He added that it was a "terrible way" to deal with the argument.

He said it was for "good reason" that the O'Reilly family had since moved to another housing estate.

The judge imposed two-year suspended sentences on each of the women and a four-year suspended sentence on Martin McDonagh Snr, who he said had a "remarkably modest record".

"People need to learn to control themselves and it is not a good idea to be drinking whiskey early in the morning," Judge Nolan said.

Keith Spencer BL, defending Martin McDonagh Snr, said his client "employed" a sickle only to threaten the O'Reilly family and there was no evidence that he had caused any injury.

He said his client was a law-abiding citizen when he was not drinking but had drunk whiskey that morning.

Kenneth Kerins BL, defending Nora McDonagh, said she participated in the event out of a sense of duty to her family and was remorseful about that.

Mr Kerins, also defending Sherlock, said she had a baton on her "more for display".

Simon Fleming, for Helen McDonagh, said he was not seeking to justify his client's involvement and Riannagh Morris BL, defending Ellen McDonagh, said the mother-of-eight was not an experienced fighter and regretted the incident.

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