A Longford man has been told to dig deep into his pockets after telling a female garda she “should be shot” like her “friend in Castlerea”.
John McCrann, 62 Gleann Riada, Longford, made the drunken remarks in reference to the shooting dead of Garda Detective Colm Horkan to Garda Rachel Dillon outside the doors of Longford Courthouse last Tuesday.
Detective Garda Horkan was laid to rest last Sunday week (June 21) after the 49-year-old was shot and killed during an incident in Castlerea, Co Roscommon four days previously.
Forty-three-year-old mechanic Stephen Silver, with an address at Aughavard, Foxford, Co Mayo, has since appeared in court and been charged with the murder of the well respected detective.
In her direct evidence to the court, Garda Dillon said Mr McCrann had initially been asked to leave the vicinity of the area.
In the process of delivering those directions it was alleged Mr McCrann suddenly hurled abuse at Garda Dillon and her colleagues.
“When he was directed to leave the area he shouted back: ‘We should be shot like our friend in Castlerea’.”
Garda Dillon added Mr McCrann followed those comments with the threat: “I am going to get you shot.”
The court also heard Mr McCrann replied: “Thanks very much,” after caution when the Section 6 and Section 8 public order charges were put to him.
Mr McCrann, who was led into the courtroom and placed in the custody area, took to his feet following the incident in an attempt to express his remorse.
“I apologise to you and to the Gardaí,” Mr McCrann told presiding Judge Seamus Hughes.
“I had a few drinks on me, I won’t lie.”
Asked by the judge to elaborate as to what he had consumed in the lead up to the incident, Mr McCrann replied: “I had a couple of cans of lager.
“I was off it (drink) for weeks and I went back on it at 6pm last night. I apologise to you and to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris as well.”
Pressed by the judge as to whether he wished to impart any sense of regret to Garda Dillon, Mr McCrann said: “I apologise for what I said to you, pet.”
In defence, solicitor Frank Gearty said the episode had been nothing short of a “catastrophe” for his client in light of the fact he had not graced a courtroom for the best part of two decades.
“His last public order conviction was in 2002,” he said, adding Mr McCrann had yet to fully recover from his recent drinking escapade.
“He’s not quite fully intoxicated but there is a smell of the after effects and he has got the mother of all hangovers at least.”
Looking down on the accused, Judge Hughes likened Mr McCrann’s mannerisms in court to that of “Pat Shortt imitating a drunk in a pub”.
Judge Hughes added that despite Mr McCrann’s inebriated appearance, his appreciation of his surroundings was still very much apparent.
“Your brain still works and you are knowledgeable about current affairs,” he told him, prompting Mr McCrann to refer directly to the tragic events in Castlerea just six days earlier.
“I apologise,” he responded. “And God rest the garda that was shot. He was living with his father and all his brothers and he had a sister as well. God love him.”
In continuing his address to the court, Mr McCrann said his only desire in the short term was to try and sleep off his recent bout of heavy drinking.
“All I want to do is to go home and go to bed,” he said.
Judge Hughes said while he was willing to adjourn the case for a period of time, he warned Mr Gearty: “He had better have something in his hip,” a remark which led Mr Gearty to quip: “And not a hip flask in his pocket.”
Judge Hughes, in summation told Mr McCrann he wanted to see the accused return to court in November with €250 by way of compensation, something which drew a dissenting response from the Longford man.
“For a man on social welfare?” Mr McCrann shouted back at the judge.
“Would you not take €100?”
It was an outburst which caused Judge Hughes to raise his initial demand for €250 by a further €100 owing to Mr McCrann’s “smartness”.
The case was adjourned until a sitting of Longford District Court on November 1 2020.