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Disgraced sergeant had station bust-up with Fair City actor

A GARDA sergeant who has been convicted of assault was engaged in a high-profile bust-up with Fair City star Aisling O'Neill.

Martha McEnery (42) who has been suspended on 75pc pay since she assaulted a Waterford man in January, 2010, was yesterday given a four-month suspended jail sentence.

But two of her former colleagues were not spared jail when they were sentenced at Waterford Circuit Court for the incident involving local man Anthony Holness (38).

Daniel Hickey (29), who resigned from the force following his conviction in August, was sentenced to three years with 18 months suspended for assault causing harm to Anthony Holness on New Street in Waterford on January 29, 2010.


John Burke (39), who also resigned following his conviction, was sentenced to two years with 12 months suspended for attempting to pervert the course of justice by diverting CCTV cameras away from the assault on Mr Holness.

But this is not the first time that Sgt McEnery has been in the media spotlight.

At a hearing in Dun Laoghaire District Court in December 2002, then Garda McEnery said that Fair City star Ms O'Neill roared at her telling her to "go fatten your p***k".

The court heard how Ms O'Neill had gone to Dun Laoghaire Garda Station on July 11, 2002, to wait for a friend in custody.

Garda McEnery told the court how the actress demanded to make a phone call and became abusive.

Ms O'Neill, who was charged with a public order offence, was told to pay €250 to a Garda charity.

She was also given the Probation Act for being drunk and in breach of the peace.

Speaking in the aftermath of the 2002 case, Ms O'Neill said: "I'm embarrassed. I feel it was a bit unfair as well. What I actually said to the guard wasn't as strong as what they the media printed.

"They zoned in on the fact that I play Carol Meehan. She's a bad girl.

"I had a personality clash with the garda and I said something cheeky which I apologised for immediately. I am sorry for being cheeky. It was stupid."

Sgt McEnery now faces being sacked but she has escaped jail -- unlike her two former colleagues Daniel Hickey and John Burke.


Jail sources say that they were brought to Cork Prison after being sentenced yesterday and then transferred to a secure unit in the Midlands Prison where they spent last night.

"Being former gardai, there is a threat to their security from some other inmates and that is why they are now in the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise where there is a special protection unit," said a jail insider.

During their trial at Waterford Circuit Court during the summer, some of the three gardai who were convicted caused much amusement by turning up for court dressed in biker gear and wearing motorcycle helmets and sunglasses in a bid to hide their identities.

The three were convicted by a jury following a four-week trial at Waterford Circuit Criminal Court last July and August.

Yesterday Judge Leonie Reynolds said the careers of Hickey, Burke and McEnery were "in tatters" at yesterday's sentencing hearing at Waterford Circuit Court.

She said they were "fortunate" that the injuries of the victim, Anthony Holness were not "more serious".

Mr Holness suffers from headaches and psychological problems since his assault by gardai during his arrest in Waterford city on January 29, 2010.