Two men were ordered to pay €500 apiece or go to jail at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court.
William Nevin, 55 Gleann Riada and Thomas McDonagh, 94 Gleann Riada, appeared before Judge Seamus Hughes charged with public intoxication, the use of threatening, abusive insulting words or behaviour and failure to comply with the directions of An Garda Síochána.
It was revealed that on December 31, 2015 at approximately 11pm, gardaí received a call about a fight on Main Street, Lanesboro. A group of people were there, but when the Gardaí arrived just two, the defendants, were fighting. They were acting in a very aggressive manner and had consumed a lot of alcohol.
The two refused to stop fighting after being asked by an attending Garda, who was then forced to call for back-up. They continued to fight while assistance arrived from Longford and Roscommon Garda Stations.
“This deserves a prison sentence,” Judge Hughes fumed.
Representing both defendants, Ms Fiona Baxter explained; “They are aware that what they did was wrong. They were anxious to plead guilty at an early opportunity.
“It was New Year’s Eve, there was a lot of alcohol consumed.”
“I’m taking this very seriously,” Judge Hughes replied. “They’re going to go to prison unless I get €500 each from them immediately.”
He then remanded the defendants in custody until the afternoon sitting to see if they could come up with the money.
When they returned Ms Baxter explained that Mr Nevin was able to come up with €100, but that both men were on social welfare and would need more time.
“If they have money for drink, they’ll have money for court,” Judge Hughes pointed out, while Inspector Brendan Carroll said; “These men had the chance to pay a fixed penalty notice”.
Mr Nevin handed in €100 to the court and Judge Hughes allowed him until November 1 to pay the full amount.
“If you commit any further public order offences, you will be going to jail,” he warned.
Meanwhile, Ms Baxter revealed that Mr McDonagh had recently had surgery on his ear and had a number of follow-up appointments to attend, meaning it would be more difficult for him to gather the money.
Judge Hughes then ordered Mr McDonagh to return before the court on January 3, 2017 to pay €500. Failure to do so will result in a three month prison sentence, as he was already handed down a suspended sentence for a similar offence.