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Sligo man pepper sprayed after Gardaí tried to serve summons at his home


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A 46 year old man who was at home when gardaí arrived to issue him with a summons became aggressive and attempted to stop them from leaving, Sligo District Court heard.

Declan Cunnane of Woodfield, Ballymote, Co Sligo was charged with obstructing Garda Demetrius Doherty at the same address on March 14th 2022.

Defending solicitor Mr Gerard McGovern said there was a plea to obstruction.

Inspector Ray Tubman said on the date in question at 4:45pm gardaí called to the defendant’s home in Woodfield to serve him with a summons.

He refused to accept it and he attempted to grab Gda Doherty and was refusing to let him leave.

He told gardaí they were not going anywhere and began squaring up to them with clenched fists.

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Pepper spray had to be deployed. The defendant had 10 previous convictions the majority for road traffic offences.

Mr McGovern said his client went to the garda station to seek out Sgt Murray to apologise.

He was in his own house and had some alcohol taken. He shouldn’t have been getting a summons and it should have been a fixed charge penalty notice, the solicitor added.

He said his client was again apologising and he should have been very polite and should have just taken the summons and that would have been the end of the matter.

The gardaí were just doing their duty he said and his client was under the influence.

He should have just taken the summons, Mr McGovern said. He said his client was a father of three and presently is living with his mother.

He said alcohol has been an issue for him over the years and he tells him he has it in control.

He was not a man who would go out to the pub and would have a few drinks at home.

Mr McGovern said he is again apologising in open court for his behaviour.

Judge Murphy asked if he had come to garda attention since and Mr McGovern said gardaí in Ballymote would say he has a good relationship with them and would salute them when passing them by.

He was not working at the moment but is hoping to get employment in the next couple of months.

Judge Murphy said any offence of obstructing gardaí is serious with unarmed gardaí doing their duty.

She said Cunnane reacted really badly and obstructed Gda Doherty from trying to get back into his vehicle.

Mr McGovern agreed and said his client accepts what he did was wrong and the gardaí were just doing their duty.

Judge Murphy said in the circumstances, she was going to convict and fine him €200. Mr McGovern said they were obliged.