Sunday 16 June 2019

Proinsias de Rossa: I thought my son would kill me

Conor Gallagher

A FORMER government minister revealed how he believed he was going to be killed by his son in a vicious and unprovoked attack.

Proinsias De Rossa gave a graphic account to a court of the alleged attack by his son Fearghal (46), who chillingly told him: "I'm going to kill you."

"I believed I was going be killed by my son and that he would spend the rest of his days in prison and I thought how terrible that would be," the former MEP said.

Mr De Rossa (72) said his son calmly and repeatedly punched him in the face, before attacking him with a shovel.

The former Democratic Left leader pleaded with his son: "Don't do this, Fearghal. I'm your dad. I've never done anything to you."

Mr De Rossa was in hospital for six days and required surgery to his forearm following the attack last November.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Mr De Rossa had returned from the inauguration of President Michael D Higgins and went into his home office to use the computer.

Prionsias De Rossa was in court yesterday but his evidence was read out in statement form.

He said Fearghal came in and unplugged the computer before taking it into his room.

When his father went to retrieve it, Fearghal grabbed the hard drive and threw it over the banister, smashing it.

He said his son then calmly told him: "I'm going to kill you" -- before starting to punch him the face.

He pleaded with his son not to attack him, but the assault continued and Mr De Rossa said his son showed "real anger" for the first time.

Mr De Rossa said Fearghal kept punching him deliberately and "almost calmly" in the same place. When he ran outside, his son caught him and the attack resumed.

He remembered a passerby intervening but his son then returned with a shovel, with which he continued the attack.

An ambulance was passing at the time and paramedic David English said in a statement that he and others restrained Fearghal before treating his father, whose face was swollen and bleeding.

Gerard Murphy, a passing taxi driver, said he saw the accused lift the shovel above his head and bring it down full force on Mr De Rossa.

"He was definitely trying to kill him," Mr Murphy said, adding: "If nobody had been there, he wouldn't have stopped."

A jury is being asked to decide if the son of the former Labour MEP was insane when he assaulted his father on November 11 last.

Fearghal De Rossa, of Old Finglas Road, Glasnevin, Dublin, has pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm.


The court heard that Fearghal suffers from paranoia and has spent time in the Central Mental Hospital.

Prosecuting counsel Tara Burns told the jurors they would have to decide whether the accused was insane at the time of the attack.

She said the burden of proving insanity rested on the defence and that they would produce expert witnesses who would testify as to the accused's mental state at the time.

Garda Ciaran O Muirthile told defence counsel Mark Lynam that gardai had expressed concerns that the accused was mentally unwell.

He had been remanded to the Central Mental Hospital and was unable to appear at several court dates because he was unwell.

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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