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Trader is jailed after gun brawl at city horse fair

A HORSE trader involved in a mass brawl at the Smithfield Horse Fair during which two people were shot has been sentenced to six years in jail.

Patrick O'Reilly (44) of no fixed abode was charged with violent disorder after he was photographed by journalists wielding a stick during the fight between two Traveller family factions.

A third victim was seriously injured when his arm was nearly severed with a machete.

O'Reilly, who has 75 previous convictions, was seen in the same group as the machete wielding man and another man armed with a homemade shotgun. He has been in custody since the incident.


Judge Martin Nolan imposed a six-year term with the final two years suspended to account for O'Reilly's guilty plea.

The father of nine admitted violent disorder at Smithfield Square on March 6, 2011.

Detective Garda Michael Conlon told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court the monthly horse fair attracted between 4,000 and 4,500 people including traders, tourists and journalists. Members of the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the gardai were also there.

Members of the Quilligan and O'Reilly families were involved in a feud with the McInnerney and Donoghue families and members of both factions were also at the fair buying and selling horses.

A member of the McInnerney family said he saw a group of people including O'Reilly come running at them.

He said the group then stopped and stepped to the side allowing a man behind them open fire with a "pipe", hitting one man in the hip.

This "pipe" was later recovered and found to be a home-made shotgun.

Another witness saw O'Reilly armed with a stick alongside a man wielding a machete. This man struck the arm of another man, leaving it "swinging".


Further up the square, another victim was shot with a Webley .22 revolver. This was later recovered at the Oliver Bond Flats in the city centre.

O'Reilly, who is also known as "Pa", was arrested afterwards but gave a false name. He was interviewed several times and made no admissions.

Detective Garda Conlon said O'Reilly has spent about half his life in prison including a 12 and a half year sentence for a burglary, false imprisonment and other related offences.

Defence counsel Sean Gillane said O'Reilly was not armed with anything other than a stick that day and was at the less serious end of the violence.

He said O'Reilly had since tried to be a role model to younger Travellers.

Mr Gillane added that with O'Reilly in custody, his wife has to care for their children on her own including one with severe developmental difficulties.