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Monday 19 February 2018

Bitter land feud behind shooting over "a small dirt track", gardai tell judge

Bail granted amid strict conditions at special court sitting

During the bail hearing, Garda Jason Mitchell, Newcastle West garda station, said the accused
During the bail hearing, Garda Jason Mitchell, Newcastle West garda station, said the accused "allegedly fired a shot" from a single-barrel shotgun at Mr Hayes, "wounding him in the right shoulder". Stock image.
(Stock picture)

David Raleigh

A "feud" between two farmers over "a small dirt track" linking their farms led to one man shooting the other, a court heard yesterday

Ted O'Donoghue (72), of Killmoreen, Kildimo, Co Limerick, appeared before a special sitting of Limerick District Court, charged with assault causing harm to John Hayes (65) at farmlands at Ballycasey, Kildimo last Friday.

Despite strenuous Garda objections to bail, Judge Marie Keane remanded Mr O'Donoghue in custody with consent to bail on a number of "very strict conditions".

During the bail hearing, Garda Jason Mitchell, Newcastle West garda station, said the accused "allegedly fired a shot" from a single-barrel shotgun at Mr Hayes, "wounding him in the right shoulder".

He told judge Keane the "serious incident" was linked to a "dispute over a 'right of way'".

Garda Mitchell alleged that gardai had been called to lands at Ballycasey on "five occasions since June 2014", and that the shooting last Friday was the "latest in an ongoing long-running feud over a 'right of way'".

"Further, more serious, charges are anticipated," Gda Mitchell added.

The court heard the 'right of way' was on Mr O'Donoghue's land, but three other landowners, including the injured party, had to access it to get to their lands.

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"There is no other access," Gda Mitchell said.

Objecting to bail, gardai said they feared Mr O'Donoghue would interfere with witnesses.

Inspector Alan Cullen said the matter "should never" have come before a criminal court, and that "it's an unfortunate scenario".

William O'Donoghue, the accused's brother, alleged the dispute had been ongoing "for seven or eight years".

William O'Donoghue gave an undertaking in court to act as surety for his brother, and to monitor his movements while on bail, including chaperoning him to Mass services outside the locality.

He also agreed to manage the day-to-day running of the family farm at Ballycasey, where his brother allegedly shot and injured father-of-four John Hayes.

Gardai told the court a conviction, on indictment, for a Section Three assault carried a maximum five-year prison sentence.

"The injured party has stated [to gardai] that the accused fired a shot at him, injuring him," Gda Mitchell alleged.

The court heard gardai had recovered a gun believed to have been used in last Friday's shooting.

Garda Mitchell said he arrested Mr O'Donoghue, at 1.10pm, Friday, June 16, at Barnakyle, Patrickswell.

He said the accused "made no reply" when charged at 10.15pm last Friday.

Remanding Mr O'Donoghue on bail, judge Keane ordered that €3,000 of an independent cash surety of €5,000 be lodged.

She delivered a warning to Mr O'Donoghue, saying: "If you breach any of these bail conditions, you will be arrested and incarcerated.

"If you see your neighbours, you blank them; you don't even look at them," the judge further told the accused.

Granting bail, she remanded Mr O'Donoghue to a sitting of Limerick District Court on June 21.

Sunday Independent





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