Monday 21 May 2018

Garda's son held after boy stabbed to death in street

Michael Doherty (14), who was stabbed to death in O’Connell Street in Ennis on Saturday
Michael Doherty (14), who was stabbed to death in O’Connell Street in Ennis on Saturday

Gordon Deegan

GARDAI were last night questioning the teenage son of a garda following the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old Traveller boy.

Michael Doherty (14) was buying a bag of French fries at a fast-food shop in Ennis, Co Clare on Saturday night, after spending the day at a horse fair, when he was stabbed in the chest.

Last night, gardai were continuing to question a 17-year-old youth in relation to the stabbing, which happened outside Supermacs on O'Connell Street before 11pm on Saturday.

His father John Doherty, speaking from the family home on Kilrush Road, said his son had been killed for no reason.

"Michael went into Supermacs to buy a bag of chips with a friend. Some fella came up to Michael, but Michael walked away saying 'I don't want any trouble'.

"But then there was some pushing and Michael was stabbed. A fight was picked on him for no reason and he was killed for no reason."

He described Michael as "very quiet", adding: "He was big for his age and wouldn't have been violent like that or in trouble before."

Mr Doherty said Michael had gone for something to eat after spending the day at the Spancilhill Horse Fair near Ennis where he had been 'driving' a horse.

O'Connell Street in Ennis was yesterday sealed off as members of the Garda Technical Bureau examined the scene.

A post-mortem examination was last night being carried out at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick by Asst State Pathologist, Michael Curtis.

Appealed

Superintendent John Scanlan (Ennis garda station) yesterday appealed for witnesses.

The 17-year-old being questioned by gardai is the son of a garda. He can be held for 24 hours under section four of the Criminal Justice Act.

Michael was a second-year pupil at Ennis Community College and had one brother and eight sisters. He was the eldest son.

Relatives and friends were yesterday visiting the Doherty home to express their sympathies and offer support.

Family friend Bernard McDonagh said: "He was like a son to me, he grew up with one of my young lads. He was one of the quietest young lads that ever walked this town.

"He did a bit of amateur boxing and he loved his horses. They were his life. He was out at the fair driving a horse and went into Supermacs for a bag of chips on the way home and a knife was put through him.

"He was starting to develop into a young man, I was so proud of him getting big and strong."

He added: "His father and mother are devastated. He was John's pride and joy. Michael was his companion and his helper."

Michael is the second member of the wider Doherty family to die in violent circumstances.

Some years ago, his uncle Thomas was fatally stabbed at a halting site in Dublin.

Michael Doherty is also the second Traveller to suffer a violent death in Ennis this year. Catholic Bishop of Killaloe Dr Willie Walsh offered his sympathy to all those affected by the latest tragedy.

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