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03 Dec 2021

Longford man hit with suspended sentenced over street brawl outside courthouse

Longford Courthouse.

A Longford man has been handed a suspended prison sentence for engaging in a street fight outside the door of the town’s courthouse with a rivalling family.

A Longford man has been handed a suspended prison sentence for engaging in a street fight outside the door of the town’s courthouse with a rivalling family.

Shane McDonnell (24), 34 College Park, Longford pleaded guilty at a recent sitting of Longford District Court to violent disorder along with five other individuals on May 7, 2019.

Sgt Enda Daly, for the State, said the incident arose after Mr McDonnell himself had appeared in court the same day.
He said upon Mr McDonnell’s exit from court, an altercation broke out when members from another family approached the Longford man’s parents.

“A dispute arose and the parties started to fight,” said Sgt Daly.

“The defendant could be seen on CCTV footage running to other members of the family and throwing a number of punches and engaging in violent conduct.”

The court heard no injuries or statements of complaint were submitted to gardaí, but because the incident was captured on CCTV, charges were handed down to those involved.

Sgt Daly added Mr McDonnell had 24 previous convictions, the most recent being recorded in Tallaght District Court in March.
On that occasion, presiding Judge Marie Keane was told, that Mr McDonnell has been given 120 hours of community service for criminal damage.

Defending solicitor Bríd Mimnagh said despite Mr McDonnell’s previous transgressions, he was a man who was very much intent on making a lasting contribution to society.

“He had come down to Longford and was homeless at the time,” she said.

“He now has a wife and two children and he is living in hotel accommodation in Dublin and since this incident in 2021 he has been in no trouble at all.”

Ms Mimnagh said Mr McDonnell’s parents, who were also charged, pleaded guilty and received a monetary fine for their involvement in the row.

Three other co-accused, she added, had since opted to take their case before Judge Keenan Johnson in the circuit court.

She said Mr McDonnell’s previous dependencies on alcohol and drugs were firmly in the past as he continued to press ahead with a career as a carpenter.

“He became involved in taking drugs and hence the litany of (previous) offences,” she said.

“The co accused have gone forward to the circuit court and he is off all drugs and he doesn’t drink at all.

“He apologises and wants to get on and move on with his life.”

Judge Keane took those soundings on board, but said she could not ignore how the accused opted to become embroiled in fisticuffs just yards from the courthouse’s front door.

“He (Mr McDonnell) engaged in brawling while there were members of the public coming from court where they would have been entitled to at least some level of civility and not be met with this type of nonsense,” she said.

Judge Keane sentenced Mr McDonnell to four months in prison, suspending its duration for two years.

In doing so, she warned him: “Be in no doubt Mr McDonald if you commit an offence in the next two years you will serve this sentence.”

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