Four men appeared before Longford District Court last week, charged with what was referred to in court as “an absolute, outrageous beating”, which took place in July of last year.
Ryan Doyle, Ferefad, Longford, Richard Doyle Snr and Richard Doyle Jnr, both of 17 Ardnacassa Avenue, Ballinalee Road, Longford, and Martin Doyle, 67 Grian Ard, Longford, were all charged with a vicious assault, which occurred on July 10, 2019, at Ardnacassa.
The court heard that the incident was part of an ongoing feud between the Doyle and McDonnell families.
“This matter started with silly tit for tat stuff and then progressed into violence,” explained Detective Garda Joe Esler.
“There were a number of complaints and then this current incident took place on July 10, 2019. The injured party received a very serious beating. There is CCTV of excellent quality.
“A member of the McDonnell family was beaten up by four members of the Doyle family. The CCTV is as good as I have seen.
“That was the beginning. Since that, there have been a number of tit for tat incidents, but what started it is still a mystery.”
Solicitor for the defence, Frank Gearty explained that there is video evidence that the McDonnells started the fight by throwing stones at his clients’ home.
“After the stones were thrown, I see reference to a three-pronged fork, which was used in retaliation,” said Judge Hughes, examining the charge sheets for Ryan Doyle.
“Did the three pronged fork penetrate anyone?” he asked Det Gda Esler.
“Yes, Judge,” Gda Esler replied.
“It was a trident, like what Neptune had,” said Mr Gearty.
“Well... we’d call it a hay fork,” said Gda Esler.
“Now you’re defending Neptune,” Judge Hughes joked to Mr Gearty, “but I think that’s lost on your client. Maybe you should explain it to him.”
“Neptune was god of the sea and he held a long fork,” Mr Gearty explained to Mr Doyle.
Judge Hughes remanded Ryan Doyle in custody to Mullingar District Court via video link on Thursday, May 28 last.
The other three men before the court were also charged with possession and use of weapons during the assault.
Richard Doyle Snr was additionally charged with having and using a walking stick as a weapon at a local shop on the same date, which Det Gda Esler said he swung at the injured party, who fended him off with “some sort of spray”, which gardaí didn’t recover.
Mr Gearty requested, on behalf of his client, that Judge Hughes grant Mr Doyle bail and, while Sgt McGirl explained that there were no breaches of bail conditions thus far, the state was seeking to remand him in custody on the basis of the seriousness of the offence.
“There’s an objection to bail, but this should have been done before,” Mr Gearty insisted. “Why was this objection not made earlier? The station should have been ready.”
Judge Hughes set cash bail for the accused at €1,000 but later reduced it to €300 following a plea from Mr Doyle’s wife.
Richard Doyle Jnr was charged with possession of a slash hook on the date in question, which Det Gda Esler said was used and penetrated skin during the assault.
“So the first boy had a three-pronged fork; the father had a walking stick and this man had a slash hook,” Judge Hughes noted, remanding Mr Doyle in custody to Mullingar District Court via video link on May 28.
Martin Doyle was charged with having a walking stick on the day in question and was also charged with possessing a number of items in his car on the Ardagh Road on November 3, 2019, including a stanley knife, a hockey stick and a number of other sticks and items.
“Was the walking stick used?” Judge Hughes asked Det Gda Esler of the assault.
“It was used. It was an absolute outrageous beating. He used a walking stick and some other wooden instrument,” said Det Gd Esler.
“And two other people had a slash hook and a pitch fork, all used together,” said Judge Hughes.
“It was a barbaric assault,” said Sgt McGirl.
Mr Martin Doyle was also remanded in custody to Mullingar District Court via video link on Thursday, May 28.
“I’m refusing jurisdiction as this is all part of an ongoing feud between two families,” said Judge Hughes.
“What concerns me about this case is that in both families you have the older generations and you have the young men who are immature risk takers taking part in an ongoing feud.
“Some people have been seriously injured and unless these men abide by the law of the land, they will spend the rest of their lives in prison.
“That’s my attitude. Other judges may take another approach.”
Turning to Mr Gearty, he added, “In all my years, I have never seen a guard concoct a conspiracy to incarcerate someone just to have them out again.
“When Gda Esler and Sgt McGirl say something, I’ll put more weight on it than anything that comes out of your client’s mouth.”