A man who shouted abuse at a mother who was dropping her child off at school has been fined €250 following a sitting of Longford District Court last week.
Patrick McDonnell, 84 Ardnacassa Avenue, Longford, was given three months to pay the fine.
Sgt Paddy McGirl, prosecuting, explained that gardaí were called to a “public disturbance” at Stonepark National School on August 13, 2019, where there was an incident with a local hotel owner and the accused.
“The injured party dropped her eight-year-old to school. She parked her BMW across the road and walked her son over,” Sgt McGirl explained.
“Out of the blue, another BMW pulled up and the passenger window was rolled down. The male driver leaned across and shouted at her, ‘what’s your f-ing problem with me? Why won’t you serve me? What’s this thing with always a private party? What’s your f-ing problem with me?’
“The principal of the school walked over to see if (the injured party) was okay. The man continued shouting ‘You won’t have any trouble serving me next time’. He blocked her on her way back.
“He was shouting at her in a way that the injured party described as a very threatening tone. The principal of the school made a statement confirming the outburst.”
Sgt McGirl also explained that the accused had been previously barred from the injured party’s hotel bar.
“Why did you do it at a school?” Judge Seamus Hughes explained.
“My wife approached her at the hotel where we had lunch and she wouldn’t serve us beer. I was never barred. It’s about not being served. We had one pint and she poured it down the sink and gave back the €4.50 it cost,” said Mr McDonnell, who has 38 previous convictions, the court heard.
“You don’t go to any national school and conduct yourself like that in front of your own children, nevermind other children,” said Judge Hughes.
“If you have an issue with that lady, get Ms Mimnagh to write a legal letter claiming discrimination. You know about your rights. You seem to be able to claim them.”
Solicitor for the accused, Bríd Mimnagh, explained that her client was married, with four children and that he “accepted that the incident took place”.
Judge Hughes fined the accused €250, with three months to pay.
“I’m also placing an exclusion order on you for a period of two years not to enter that hotel or any other property of the injured party or to approach her in any public area for two years,” he added.
“But I’d like to see what the problem is serving me in her bar,” Mr McDonnell objected.
“Well, then you can make a discrimination claim,” Judge Hughes concluded.