Saturday 18 November 2017

Dolores O'Riordan's 16-month 'air rage' ordeal ends as judge strikes out her case

Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan arrives at Ennis District Court
Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan arrives at Ennis District Court
Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan arriving at Ennis Court with mother Eileen. Photo: Eamon Ward
Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan is surrounded by reporters as she leaves Ennis District Court. Photo: Niall Carson/PA
Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan arrives at Ennis District Court

Gordon Deegan

Dolores O'Riordan's 16 month 'air rage' ordeal ended today with a judge striking out her case.

The Cranberries singer will escape from the trauma without any criminal conviction after Judge Patrick Durcan formally struck out the charges against the 44-year-old mother-of-three yesterday.

Judge Durcan last week in court told solicitor for Ms O’Riordan, Bill O’Donnell that he would strike out the charges if €6,000 is paid to the court Poor Box.

In court, after Ms O’Riordan’s name was called out, Judge Durcan told Mr O’Donnell: “Payment has been made so I strike the matter out.”

Ms O’Riordan wasn’t required to be in court and she was not present.

The case was sparked by an out of control Ms O’Riordan head-butting and spitting in the face of a Garda shouting ‘I’m an icon, I’m the Queen of Limerick’ during an air rage incident at Shannon airport in November 2014.

During the ‘air rage’ incident, Insp Tom Kennedy told Ennis District Court that the Cranberries singer also spat in the face of and kicked out at an Airport Police Office (APO).

In the case, Ms O’Riordan with an address of Friarstown, Grange, Kilmallock 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.

The case laid bare Ms O’Riordan’s psychiatric difficulties at the time that subsequently required her to spend three weeks at St Patrick’s psychiatric hospital.

One report into Ms O’Riordan’s psychiatric state at the time of the Shannon incident found that Ms O’Riordan “looked exhausted, had poor insight into her altered mental state and the incident on the plane took place while she was quite unwell and this was caused by bi-polar disorder”.

In his judgement last week, Judge Durcan said that it would it would be “unfair and would be unjust to criminalise” Ms O’Riordan.

Judge Durcan said that Ms O’Riordan’s actions all occurred when the defendant was suffering from a very severe mental illness”.

Judge Durcan said after reading several medical reports in the case that the mental illness that Ms O'Riordan was suffering from at the time “completely inhibited her judgement”.

Judge Durcan said that Ms O’Riordan not remembering any of the incident shows that she was incapable of understanding or recording what she was doing at the time.

On his ruling not to criminalise Ms O’Riordan, Judge Durcan said that this was the practice of his court in public order related cases where someone comes before the court with an unblemished character as in this case.

He said: “Indeed, let me be utterly clear that the defendant in this case is not being treated differently to anyone else. It will be noted that many other people were treated in a like manner by this court today.”

Speaking outside court after the sentencing last week, Ms O’Riordan said: “I just want to say I’m glad it’s over and I want to thank the doctors who got back my health mentally. I am feeling very good today, very positive about this upcoming year. I have new albums coming out and I am going to go back to work.”

When asked about the stigma over mental illness and whether it was time people spoke and opened up more, Ms O'Riordan said ‘of course’ and urged people suffering similar problems to "just reach out for help.”

Ms O’Riordan said: “I’m okay now,” and that she wanted “to keep the art flowing”

Online Editors

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