Wednesday 17 January 2018

Woman told hotel staff they were 'ruining her f***ing holiday' during dispute over room carpet

The Bray Head Hotel (Photo: Google Maps)
The Bray Head Hotel (Photo: Google Maps) Newsdesk Newsdesk

A Dublin woman told staff at a hotel that they were "ruining her f***ing holiday" after she was asked to leave following an allegation of a damaged carpet.

The woman's 'atrocious behaviour' at a Bray Hotel earned her a fine of €350 at Bray District Court.

Gwen Heffernan (29), from Newmarket Square, Dublin 8, was charged with threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour at the Bray Head Hotel on August 14, 2016, while she was on holidays in the town.

Garda Glenn McLoughlin told last Thursday's court sitting that he was called to the hotel just after 11 a.m. having received a report of a dispute.

Staff said that Heffernan had been asked to leave following an allegation of a damaged carpet. She became abusive, Garda McLoughlin told the court.

'She said that I ruined her f***ing holiday, and "I can't believe youse are f***ing throwing me out."'

He said that she was on the landing and continued to shout abuse and obscenities. 'She attempted to scream out the window at passers by,' said Garda McLoughlin, who said that there were members of the public present.

Eoin Gallagher, BL, asked Garda McLoughlin if he could confirm that Heffernan was there with her partner and children; he said she was. He did not know if one of the children was unwell, he said.

'I told him loads of times,' Heffernan called out in court.

Mr Gallagher said that one of Heffernan's children requires feeding from a tube at regular intervals. He said that there was no heating in her room and she asked for a heater. It was this heater, he said, which caused damage to the carpet. 'They never told her how to turn it on,' he said.

He said that his client was in the process of leaving and packing her bags when gardaí arrived.

Mr Gallagher told Garda McLoughlin that his client would say she was arrested in her room. 'No, it was on the landing,' said the garda.

'No, you threw me onto the bed,' Heffernan called out before Judge Kennedy warned her that if she made further outbursts he would put her in the cells.

Mr Gallagher said that the use of vulgar language was not sufficient grounds for a charge of 'threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour.'

'The word "f**k" is very commonly used,' said Mr Gallagher. 'Maybe it shouldn't be, but it's neither threatening, nor abusive.'

Judge Kennedy said that the incident was plainly a breach of the peace. 'This is the sort of behaviour that the act is designed to legislate against,' he said.

Heffernan told the court that her son has a hole in his heart and he must be fed through a tube. She said she was never told that the hotel didn't have heating and she paid €90.

'The hotel is used for Romanian homeless and I didn't know that. There's partying all the time and the hotel is mental. There's no functioning lifts. The whole hotel is practically shut down.' she said.

Heffernan said she asked for a heater and didn't know how to use it.

'After the carpet was damaged, the woman asked us to leave.

'She rang the gardaí and 10 minutes later he arrested me in front of the kids. He threw me onto the bed,' she said.

'I don't even curse. I've two kids and I refrained from cursing a long time ago. I'm a respectable person and I got tore out of a hotel on the first night of my holiday. I was locked up in the Joy and it was days before I got back to my family.

'The owner of the hotel regretted ringing the gardaí after the way it turned out.'

Mr Gallagher said that the language used, if used at all, was not satisfactory for the prosecution's case. 'You've heard evidence that this occurred in her room. That contradicts directly the garda evidence. There is no evidence from the state to prove otherwise.'

Judge David Kennedy said that he was happy with the garda evidence. 'This was atrocious behaviour in a public place,' he said. He handed down a fine of €350.

Bray People

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