Monday 26 September 2016

'I'm queen of Limerick' - O'Riordan in air rage row

Gordon Deegan

Published 17/12/2015 | 02:30

Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan arriving at Ennis Court yesterday with mother Eileen. Photo: Eamon Ward
Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan arriving at Ennis Court yesterday with mother Eileen. Photo: Eamon Ward

Singer 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.

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And the Cranberries star made two separate escapes from custody - jumping off a stationary ambulance to run towards an Aer Lingus jet and then escaping from being handcuffed in the back of a patrol car and running off before being apprehended by airport police and a garda.

Inspector Tom Kennedy yesterday told a court that the mother-of-three (44) told an airport police officer: "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."

He told Ennis District Court that "Ms O'Riordan was quite irrational, quite aggressive, quite difficult" during the incident on November 10 last year.

The inspector said that O'Riordan had initially become problematic on a JFK-Shannon flight when she stepped on the foot of Aer Lingus Flight Attendant Carmel Coyne.

The inspector said that while Ms O'Riordan was in the back of a 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 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 t**' and claimed that he sexually assaulted her by groping at her. It was a very nasty situation for Garda Dawson and for all concerned."

Garda Dawson said the incident "ranks as one of the worst I have ever had to deal with".

Solicitor for 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."

"Ms O'Riordan was going through a very, very difficult time having recently separated from her husband of 20 years."

He said that O'Riordan was returning for the 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."

Illness

Mr O'Donnell handed in a booklet of medical reports on Ms O'Riordan's psychiatric condition, with one concluding that Ms O'Riordan's actions "were of a person suffering a severe psychiatric illness".

The singer pleaded guilty to four separate alleged offences - including three separate minor assault charges - from the incident at Shannon.

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.

Ms O'Riordan 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.

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

Irish Independent

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