Wednesday 17 January 2018

Pair admit to melee at birthday that cost innocent dad his eye

Shay Gaughan, who has since died of cancer, lies in hospital with horrific injury to his eye
Shay Gaughan, who has since died of cancer, lies in hospital with horrific injury to his eye
Shay Gaughan

THESE are the horrific injuries suffered by an innocent dad when he was struck by a vase thrown during a brawl at a 30th birthday party in a Dublin pub.

Shay Gaughan lost his eye after part of the porcelain vase smashed his cheek bone and sliced into his eyeball.

He died from cancer last November at the age of 57.

The woman celebrating her birthday, Claire Darby (33), and a friend, Eamonn Burke (46), both admitted in court they had taken part in the melee.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring has adjourned sentencing in their case until June, asking for a restorative justice programme report.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mr Gaughan, from Foxfield in Raheny, was not part of the group but was sitting nearby with his partner, Toni Hogan when violence broke out because the partygoers were asked to leave.

The court was told that it was accepted by the prosecution that the injuries suffered were the "unintended consequences" of what happened.

Darby and father-of-five Burke, both with addresses at Primrose Grove, Darndale, pleaded guilty to violent disorder at the Kinsealy Inn pub on December 3 2010.

The court heard when their group arrived, staff saw that some people were bringing in their own drinks and others were going up to the bar and ordering glasses of ice.

Floor manager Martin Butterly warned them that they would be asked to leave if they did not stop.


After 10pm they were asked to leave and people came forward to remonstrate with staff, but Mr Butterly would not change his mind. Things then took "a nastier turn" and Darby threw down her birthday cake when it was given to her.

Objects were then thrown by members of the group in a "random and haphazard way" through the bar. This included beer bottles, pint glasses and flower vases.

CCTV footage showed members of the public moving to avoid the objects.

Evidence was heard that Mr Gaughan and Ms Hogan were in the pub when a ceramic vase was thrown, hitting a pillar and exploding in shards of glass. One of the shards hit Shay in the eye and as a consequence, he lost that eye.

Darby, a single mother-of-two, has nine previous convictions for offences including handling stolen property and uninsured driving.

Burke's 41 prior convictions include criminal damage, theft and motoring offences.

Counsel for the prosecution said it was accepted that the injuries sustained by Mr Gaughan were the unintended consequences of the actions of the accused.

Burke had a history of drug addiction and was on a methadone maintenance programme, his barrister said.

The court heard there were other people involved in the incident who had gone to trial, but the proceedings were aborted and the prosecutions against them were withdrawn.

Burke had "named certain people" in the locality and some threats were made against him as a result. Darby, meanwhile, had "remorse, shame and regret over her behaviour on the night of her 30th birthday", her barrister said.

"I'm just gutted after all we went through on that night," Ms Hogan told the Herald.

"It was very traumatic, but Shay had to live with it," she said through tears. "His injury was permanent."


Shay's brother Gerry said: "Between them they have over 50 previous convictions, and that Eamonn Burke has more than one conviction a year for all his adult life.

"He said that he was concerned about the impact that a sentence would have on his children, but my brother's children are left minding themselves."

"What about how dad lost his eye, and how that affected me and my brothers?" Shay's daughter Rachel asked.

Conor Feehan and Andrew Phelan

Online Editors

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