Wednesday 14 November 2018

Sinn Féin TD avoids conviction for being threatening and abusive to garda while drunk

Cork East TD Pat Buckley
Cork East TD Pat Buckley
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A SINN Féin TD avoided a conviction for engaging in threatening and abusive behaviour while drunk to a garda as a district court judge applied the Probation Act.

Cork East TD Pat Buckley (49) today publicly apologised for his behaviour to gardaí when they called to his home last year over a noise complaint.

Judge Brian Sheridan at Midleton District Court applied Section 1,1 of the Probation Act after being informed by Mr Buckley's solicitor, Henry McCourt, that his client had not come to garda attention since the matter first came before the court last May.

Inspector Tony O'Sullivan confirmed to the court that Mr Buckley had not come to garda notice since last May's Midleton District Court sitting.

Mr McCourt said that at last May's court sitting it was indicated that Mr Buckley would be given the benefit of the Probation Act if he did not come to Garda notice again before the November court sitting.

Judge Sheridan confirmed the order and today applied the Probation Act.

Mr Buckley (49), a first time Dáil member, apologised for what happened in August 2017.

“I apologise profusely for any offence caused. I apologise to the officers involved and deeply regret my actions on the day,” he told Independent.ie

Mr Buckley also said he was very grateful to the court for the benefit of the Probation Act.

Mr Buckley of Broomfield West, Midleton, Co Cork had pleaded guilty to the two charges brought under the Public Order Act last May.

Inspector Tony Sullivan told the court the incident arose out of a noise complaint received by Midleton gardaí from a member of the public.

Mr Buckley was hosting a party at his home in August 2017.

When officers called to Mr Buckley's home to make him aware of the noise issue, they were abruptly told to "f*** off."

Mr Buckley also called one garda an abusive name.

In a previous submission to the court, Mr Buckley's solicitor said his client admitted what happened and wanted to offer a full apology to everyone involved.

The court was told that Mr Buckley had been celebrating a family event, had consumed a few drinks and now deeply regretted his actions when gardaí arrived.

“This was a family event, a celebratory affair involving a few drinks in my own home," Mr Buckley said.

"Unfortunately, with alcohol on board, my attitude towards the gardaí, when they arrived at my home, was not what it should have been. I regret what happened."

Mr Buckley is a long-time mental health campaigner in Cork.

He was elected to the 32nd Dáil at the 2016 General Election in the four seat Cork east constituency, being almost 2,000 votes ahead of outgoing Fine Gael TD Tom Barry on the tenth count.

Four years ago, Mr Buckley was disqualified from driving for three years after being convicted of being over the permitted alcohol limit while driving.

He was a sitting Cork Co Council member at the time.

The court heard on that occasion he had also been attending a family function and unwisely decided to move his car after having been drinking.

After that conviction, Mr Buckley publicly apologised and urged other road users to learn from his mistake and never to drink and drive.

Mr Buckley founded the Let's Get Together charity to offer support to those with self-harm and suicidal thoughts after his two brothers, Mark and James, took their own lives in 2002 and 2003.

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