Monday 23 September 2019

Former Fine Gael TD found guilty of assault with a broken pint glass

Former Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan Picture:Arthur Carron
Former Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan Picture:Arthur Carron

Patsy McArdle

A former Fine Gael TD has been found guilty of assault with a broken pint glass.

Former Dáil deputy Seán Conlan (42), who resigned from Fine Gael prior to the General Election, appeared before Monaghan District Court today.

The court heard the charges relate to an incident in a pub in Ballybay on August 23 last year.

Conlan, of Main Street, Ballybay, Co Monaghan, was charged under section 11 of the Firearms and offensive Weapons Act with the production of a broken pint-glass and also with assault causing harm to Enda Duffy of Annahia, Ballybay.

The case opened before Judge Conal Gibbons with an application by counsel for Conlan Patrick Gageby S.C., which was granted by the judge, requiring all witnesses to remain outside the courtroom while the evidence of each witness was being heard.

Garda Niall Brady presented three books of photographs taken in the bar where the alleged assault took place as well as pictures of an arm injury which the alleged victim claimed he sustained when struck by Conlan with a broken glass.

Enda Duffy told the court that after visiting a GAA social centre and another pub in Ballybay on the date in question he went to Conlan’s pub where his brother and some other friends were drinking.

He said there was some banter in the bar with references  made about the Arts Minister, Heather Humphreys - another Fine Gael Dail deputy based in Cavan/Monaghan similar to Deputy Conlan.

The court heard that after a short time Conlan repeatedly asked Mr Duffy his name, but he refused to give it. Conlan then put his face against Mr Duffy's touching the witness’s nose twice.

He claimed Conlan then smashed a pint glass on the counter and struck him with the broken glass on the arm.

He said he was later treated by as doctor. He also told the court he received no other injury although he agreed in cross-examination that he had claimed, in an earlier statement to gardai, that he suffered concussion. He admitted he had “made a mistake” in using that term.

Peadar McNally, manager of the bar, said he managed to get Conlan out of the premises after the incident, while others were held back.

After the case closed prosecution, counsel for Mr Conlan, Mr Patrick Gageby S.C. told Judge Gibbons it was not proposed to call any evidence on behalf of the accused, who was pleading ‘not guilty’.

Judge Gibbons then said he was convicting Conlan on both charges. He accepted however the case arose from circumstances in which alcohol was a factor involving both parties in the pub.

Mr Conlan previously served as a Fine Gael deputy but left the party after criticising party leader, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, over his failure to engage with landowners in a campaign to prevent pylons and overhead cables on their farms in a cross-border electricity link-up proposed by EirGrid.

Conlan stood as an Independent in the Election, but failed to retain his seat.

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