independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

I'm so ashamed of my drunken row with gardai and pub staff - Mellon

Charity boss Niall Mellon at Tallaght District Court. The judge told him that as a public figure his conduct was inexcusable. Photo: COLLINS

DEVELOPER and philanthropist Niall Mellon has spoken of his shame after drunkenly squaring up to staff in a pub and verbally abusing gardai.

Mr Mellon said he has now sworn off alcohol for at least a year following the incident at Taylors Three Rock in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, last July.

The 46-year-old verbally abused gardai and bar staff at the pub, which he claimed he still owned -- and told Garda Colin Noonan they were "all "b*****ds".

Mr Mellon got into trouble with gardai after he called them to the pub, claiming a group was dealing drugs in the premises and he wanted them stopped.

He appeared at Tallaght District Court yesterday where a judge ordered him to enter a peace bond for one year.

Judge Anthony Halpin said Mr Mellon was a public figure and his conduct was inexcusable.

The businessman, who is well known for the Niall Mellon Township Trust which builds homes for the poor in South Africa, told the court he deeply regretted getting intoxicated.

Last night Mr Mellon released a statement saying he was glad the issue was over.

He explained: "I went out with a friend last July to celebrate something positive that happened in his life and I ended up drinking too much alcohol and I regret that.

"Almost everyone who drinks alcohol has had some night they regret and mine was July 12, 2013.

"I let the judge know that I only drink alcohol occasionally and in fact have not drunk any alcohol whatsoever from that day to the current date. After this event, I had a choice to make: drink more and get used to it or drink none. I went for the none.

"I may drink alcohol again in the future but not until at least a year has passed from that night."

Mr Mellon said he had received "lots" of messages of support from among the thousands of volunteers who have worked with him over the past 12 years.

He pointed out that despite being "financially challenged" since the economic crisis began in 2008, he had continued his charitable work and had not taken any salary in his position of chief executive of the Niall Mellon Township Trust which has built 120,000 homes for poor South Africans.

Mr Mellon said he appreciated comments from the judge that the drunken incident "was a minor event that could have happened to anyone".

In court, Mr Mellon, with an address at Brentwood Court in Manchester, admitted public drunkenness and threatening and abusive behaviour at the Rathfarnham pub.

Garda Sergeant Bernard Jones said gardai attended the scene following a report that a group was dealing drugs.

Sgt Jones said Mr Mellon had made this call to gardai, telling officers he was the owner of the pub and he wanted the group removed from the premises.

He said Mr Mellon was drunk and said he spoke with the head barman who claimed Mr Mellon had been verbally abusive to staff and customers.

Gardai were also told he was no longer the owner of the pub, which is under the control of NAMA, the court heard.

He said Mr Mellon was given a number of chances to leave but he failed to do so, drunkenly telling Gda Noonan: "This is a bad moment in your career. I'll embarrass you in court, you're b*****ds".

Sgt Jones said Mr Mellon continued to verbally abuse gardai and this behaviour continued back at the station.

Mr Mellon said he didn't recall telling gardai he was concerned that drugs were being sold in the pub but claimed the incident arose after it appeared somebody was going to punch him.

Irish Independent

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