Sunday 4 December 2016

Cranberries star Dolores O'Riordan claimed garda grabbed her breast and sexually assaulted her, court hears

Gordon Deegan

Published 16/12/2015 | 14:16

Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan arrives at Ennis District Court where she has been charged over an incident on a flight from New York
Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan arrives at Ennis District Court where she has been charged over an incident on a flight from New York
Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan arrives at Ennis District Court where she has been charged over an incident on a flight from New York

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 one Garda.

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During the ‘air rage’ incident on November 10th last year, Insp Tom Kennedy said that the Cranberries singer also spat in the face of and kicked out at an Airport Police Office (APO).

Insp Kennedy said that Ms O’Riordan - dressed all in black for today's court - made two separate escapes from custody where in one incident she jumped off a stationary ambulance to run towards the Aer Lingus jet and escaped a second time from being handcuffed in the back of a patrol car and ran off before being apprehended by APOs and a Garda.

In one incident, Insp Kennedy said that the 44 year old mother of three told an APO: “’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.”

At Ennis District Court today, Insp Kennedy said: “Ms O’Riordan was quite irrational, quite aggressive, quite difficult."

The inspector said that Ms O'Riordan had initially become quite difficult on a JFK Shannon flight where she stepped on the foot of Aer Lingus Flight Attendant, Carmel Coyne and APOs were notified.

Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan arrives at Ennis District Court where she has been charged over an incident on a flight from New York
Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan arrives at Ennis District Court where she has been charged over an incident on a flight from New York

The inspector said that while Ms O’Riordan was in back of patrol car to take her to Shannon Garda Station, “she was banging and kicking, it looked like she was trying to break the windows but she didn’t do that”.

Insp Kennedy said that after escaping from the patrol car, Garda Shane Dawson gave chase and after apprehending her, Ms O’Riordan “turned around and head butted him into the face and spat into his face.”

He added: “She then alleged that Garda Dawson had 'grabbed her tit' and claimed that he sexually assaulted her by groping at her. It was a very nasty situation for Garda Dawson and for all concerned."

Solicitor for Ms O’Riordan, Bill O’Donnell immediately accepted in court on behalf of Ms O’Riordan that there is no substance to the allegation made by his client against Garda Dawson.

In his plea of mitigation, Mr O’Donnell said that “these were the actions of a very, very ill person”

He said: “Clearly from the evidence, she was somewhat out of control.”

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

"She moved to New York City and hadn’t seen her children for two months who live in Canada and was living out of a suitcase in New York City.”

He said: “She was quite unwell during this year arising from the devastating effect from her separation from her husband and not seeing her children."

Mr O'Donnell said that Ms O''Riordan was returning to Ireland for the 2nd anniversary of her father's death. He said: "This was a very emotional time for my client and she was not in a good place.”

Mr O’Donnell handed into a booklet of medical reports 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”.

During one consultation with Ms O’Riordan in the days after the air rage incident, Mr O’Donnell said that a medic concluded that she was paranoid and delusional.

Ms O’Riordan was shortly after admitted to St Patrick’s Psychiatric hospital and remained there for three weeks.

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

He said that she has no previous convictions, had travelled around the world with her career since she was 18 and had never had an incident on a plane before last November.

Another medical report concluded that Ms O’Riordan’s prognosis for the future is positive but she will require medication in the longer term to manage the condition.

In the case, Ms O’Riordan has three has pleaded guilty to four separate alleged offences - including three separate minor assault charges - from the incident at Shannon.

In the case, Ms O’Riordan with an address of Friarstown, Grange, Kilmallock has pleaded guilty to assaulting Garda Shane Dawson and two members of the Airport Police at Shannon, Ronan O’Reilly and Eamon Power on November 10th last.

Ms O’Riordan has pleaded guilty to resisting/wilfully obstructing Garda Dawson in the execution of his duty contrary to Section 19 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994.

Any person found guilty of a Section 2 assault in the district court can be fined up to €1,850 or a maximum of six months in jail.

Judge Patrick Durcan adjourned the case for mention to the January to fix a date for sentence.

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