TDs support dissident Republican in court case
FOUR TDs attended a court hearing in support of a dissident Republican who had been convicted of causing criminal damage by daubing an anti-internment slogan on Derry's historic city walls.
Fianna Fail's Eamon O Cuiv, Independent TDs for Dublin, Clare Daly and Maureen O'Sullivan, and Independent Donegal TD Thomas Pringle attended the hearing at the Crown Court in Derry yesterday to support local councillor Gary Donnelly who, along with two others, was convicted last year of causing criminal damage and sentenced to six months in prison.
At yesterday's appeal hearing - which was in relation to the sentence only - Judge Philip Babington replaced the six-month sentence with a conditional discharge for 12 months.
Donnelly (43), of Iniscairn Road, Creggan, and his co-appellants, William Anthony Liam Brogan(51) of Carmhill and Terry Porter (56) of Racecourse, all Derry, were also ordered to pay £2,600 towards the cost of repairing the walls.
Speaking outside the court, Mr O Cuiv said: "I came up here today because I was concerned about the original judgment, the consequences of which would have meant Gary Donnelly would have lost his seat and his voters would have been disenfranchised."
Ms O'Sullivan said: "The original sentence was not fair in relation to the crime and I am speaking as someone who does not like historical monuments to be defaced."