Saturday 20 October 2018

Drink, scuffles broken glass and catcalls

Martha Kearns

DRUNKEN scuffles, smashed pint glasses and republican abuse thrown at gardai outside a nightclub - sounds like a typical Saturday night out in Dublin.

Except this time, one of the people involved was the wife of a politician. A Dail deputy, in fact and his party's justice spokesperson to boot.

Sinn Fein's Aengus O Snodaigh was not on the scene the night his "extremely drunk" wife smashed a pint glass over the bonnet of a squad car.

He was not there when a group - including his wife, Aisling Ni Dhalaigh and her sister, Niamh Ni Dhalaigh - threatened gardai that Aengus would have their jobs.

He couldn't join in the little sing-song in the back of the garda van after Aisling, Niamh and the third accused, Martin Farrell delighted the arresting gardai with their rendition of 'A Nation Once Again'.

Yet his name was always going to be linked to the events of the early hours of the morning of May 22 last when gardai claimed they were subjected to republican abuse and profanities ("F--- Garda Siochana") as well as chants of "Up the IRA" from the group, who were coming from a Sinn Fein function on Dublin's Middle Abbey Street.

A string of gardai as well as an independent witness yesterday outlined the events of the night to Dublin District Court, where Aisling Ni Dhalaigh was convicted of a breach of the peace and both Niamh Ni Dhalaigh and Martin Farrell were convicted of obstructing gardai.

All three denied all charges and claimed they were not drunk or abusive.

Despite none of the accused having a previous conviction, Judge William Early would not apply the Probation Act, as he said "people who invoke political parties and other organisations to threaten gardai" did not deserve it.

According to the Garda Bernard Mullins, after the glass was smashed on the car (which the judge had "no doubt" was done by Aisling Ni Dhalaigh) the group chanted "republican rhetoric" associated with Sinn Fein and the IRA.

"Niamh called me a f---ing scumbag, a free state bastard. She said the husband of one of the people was a Sinn Fein politician and I'd lose my job and be in trouble," added Garda Garrett Kane.

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