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27/10/2021

Judge hits out at 'ring of steel' being around Longford town

File Photo

File Photo

A judge has spoken out against a so-called “ring of steel” being around Longford after two men were told they must show up for court in October or run the risk of being sent to prison.

Ann Marie Doyle, Richie Doyle Snr, Richie Doyle Jnr and Naomi Nevin (nee Doyle) had been summonsed to appear at a previous court sitting as defence witnesses over an alleged section 2 assault 17 Ardnacassa Avenue, Longford on January 29 2018. Willie McDonnell, of 34 College Park, Longford was charged over the incident as a result.

At a previous court sitting last month, only two of the four, Ms Doyle and Ms Nevin appeared with bench warrants remaining in place for Mr Doyle Snr and Jnr. Asked why he had decided to stay away from court on the previous occasion, Mr Doyle Jnr said his decision was based on “trying to keep the trouble down”.

Also read: Judge tells Longford man he's a 'lucky boy' to avoid jail

The accused, Mr McDonnell was not in court himself it emerged with his solicitor John Quinn stating his client was presently in hospital recuperating from injuries sustained in an alleged assault. Judge Hughes was also told by Sgt Paddy McGirl the presence of the four defence witnesses together with the accused and associated members of both families presented something of a logistical nightmare for his officers.

“It causes serious security issues for gardaí just by having them here,” he said.

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Judge Hughes offered up little in return, insisting the judicial system was well able to deal with such challenges.

“People may be playing games here, but I have to deal with this in the normal scheme of things,” he said.

“If I think there has been an abuse of process the courts have a mechanism for dealing with these matters at the appropriate time.

“A nod is as good as a wink.”

Judge Hughes adjourned affairs until October 8 2019 and, in doing so, he advised Mr Doyle Snr and Jnr of what will happen should they decide to stay away from court on that date.

“If you fail to come to court it will be prison for both of you because we have all heard of there is a ring of steel around Longford,” he added.

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