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Gardaí called after large crowd fought after mass


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A 29 year old man who travelled from England to attend a family member’s anniversary mass in co Sligo was subsequently arrested by gardaí outside the church as a tense large crowd had gathered and were fighting.

The priest who was overseeing the anniversary mass ended up ringing gardaí and alerting them to the situation outside the church where a traveller feud was ongoing.

The defendant was roaring and shouting and was arrested.

John Paul McDonagh of Exborg House, London, England was charged with engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour at St Joseph’s Church, Doo, Ballymote on January 12th 2022.

A charge of producing a slash hook during the course of a dispute was withdrawn by the State.

Mr John Anderson (solicitor) told Judge Sandra Murphy there was a plea.

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He said his client had returned from England to celebrate his grandfather’s anniversary mass in Doo and once the family had come outside the church there was a huge crowd of another family also there.

His client was shouting and roaring telling people to leave.

He was subsequently arrested and brought to Ballymote Garda Station and released on €1,000 bail.

He had no convictions in this jurisdiction. Mr Anderson said it was a difficult situation for his client to be confronted with people when he came out and in fairness to gardaí they arrested him.

Sgt Butler told the court that on the date in question at 1pm at St Joseph’s, Ballymote Fr McDonagh rang gardaí to say there was a large number of travellers outside the church fighting.

There was a lot of tension and he said he was conducting an anniversary mass and then there was a traveller feud.

Gardaí arrived and calmed the situation down.

The defendant was seen roaring and shouting and was aggravating the situation and was arrested.

Mr Anderson said his client had returned to Ireland specifically to be in court.

Sergeant Butler told the judge the State were amenable to a conviction on the Public Order charge and suggested the money be given to charity.

The judge said the total bail money was €975 as the bail was given in sterling.

She said she was going to convict and fine him €200 and the balance would be given to charity.

Sgt Butler suggested it should be given to the Sligo Family Support Centre on The Mall adding it was a worthy cause and it would help raise funds for a playground which had been vandalised.

Mr Anderson thanked the judge.