Thursday 23 February 2017

Shamed assault garda will fight to keep her dream job

Eimear Ni Bhraonain and Tom Brady

Garda Sgt Martha McEnery
Garda Sgt Martha McEnery

THE female garda sergeant given a suspended sentence for assaulting a man during his arrest is battling to keep her job.

Sgt Martha McEnery (42) has been suspended from the force for the past 22 months but she continues to receive 75pc of her pay.

A decision is to be made on her future in the coming days. However, it is highly unlikely that McEnery will resign from her dream job given that she has indicated her "deepest aspiration" is to remain in the force.

The native of Listowel, Co Kerry, escaped being sent to jail with two former garda colleagues, Daniel Hickey and John Burke, at Waterford Circuit Court on Monday, over the attack on Anthony Holness.

Meanwhile, the two disgraced ex-gardai Hickey and Burke are serving their time behind bars in a special protection unit. They are being held alongside four jailed prison officers and a number of convicted killers.

Inmates

Instead of jail, McEnery received a four-month suspended sentence for her part in an assault on Mr Holness in Waterford city in January 2010.

Before the incident, her future looked bright in the Garda Siochana after she was promoted to sergeant in November 2008.

McEnery has shown no desire to give up her post -- with her defence team going as far as to say her "deepest aspiration is to remain a guard".

Hickey and Burke are being held on a segregation landing at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise where they undergo a regime designed to prevent attacks on them by other inmates.

After they were sentenced, the two former gardai were initially ferried to Wheatfield prison in west Dublin for committal, but were then transferred to the Midlands protection unit. Prisoners under protection in the Midlands do not mix with the other inmates and are allocated separate times to use the gym and the exercise yard.

They also have their own recreational facilities on the landing including a pool room.

Hickey was sentenced to three years for assault causing harm on Mr Holness, with 18 months suspended.

With a quarter remission for good behaviour, he is likely to be set free in time to celebrate Christmas at home with his family in December 2012.

Burke received a two-year sentence, with 12 months suspended, for intending to pervert the course of justice by diverting a CCTV camera from the assault. With remission, he can expected to be allowed out in August.

Their fellow inmates include former prison officers Thomas Corry and Dillon O'Brien, who were both convicted of smuggling drugs and other contraband into jail.

Another former prison officer is in the unit for sex abuse offences, while a fourth assaulted his wife with a baseball bat.

Killers sent to the protection unit included Warren Dumbrell, serving life imprisonment for stabbing Christy Cawley to death in Inchicore, Dublin.

James Cahill, jailed for life for the fatal shooting of Limerick security guard Brian Fitzgerald, is also an inmate.

Irish Independent

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