independent

Wednesday 30 July 2014

McGrath apologises for drunken behaviour

Published 23/07/2013|05:42

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Paul McGrath leaving Tullamore Courthouse

Adopted Wexford man Paul McGrath will avoid a conviction for public order offences if he returns to his first love and coaches underage soccer teams for a day.

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Adopted Wexford man Paul McGrath will avoid a conviction for public order offences if he returns to his first love and coaches underage soccer teams for a day.

The former Manchester United, Aston Villa and Ireland star, who lives at Tomsallagh near Ferns, was in Tullamore District Court in County Offaly last week after being arrested when he was drunkenly trying to get into two cars in a hotel car park after attending a wedding. He was subsequently charged with being drunk and disorderly in a public place.

The court heard that McGrath had attended a wedding at one hotel in Tullamore, and after leaving, ended up in the car park of another hotel, the Tullamore Court. Inspector John Lawless told how Gardai were called there at 3.10 a.m., where they found that McGrath was 'shouting in a disturbed manner' and trying to get into the cars.

Solicitor Donal Farrelly said McGrath admitted the offences. He described his client as'one of the greatest footballers Ireland has ever had', but added 'unfortunately, Paul suffers from a debilitating disorder called social phobia. He suffers from acute anxiety. To deal with that anxiety, he sometimes turns to drink.

'He is extremely ashamed and embarrassed about what happened. He doesn't remember the incident. Because of his fame, this very public humiliation is all the more painful. He finds it very hard to deal with,' Mr Farrelly added.

The court further heard that McGrath is normally accompanied to events by an agent or friend, but he had gone to this wedding by himself, and had been offered alcohol there. He has handed in letters of apology to both the Gardai and the hotel.

Judge Alan Mitchell described McGrath as 'a national hero', and said that if he would be prepared to coach some local children, the matter could be dealt with under the Probation Act.

'You were in Tullamore for a wedding. You will be coming back now to help young people,' he told him, as he suggested that McGrath could train a number of children of different age groups for day. 'I think it might be something positive,' the Judge remarked.

'Yeah, I'll do it. No problem,' was the soccer star's reply.

The judge allowed six months for the completion of the full day of training, and McGrath signed autographs before leaving the courthouse.

Wexford People

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