24 May 2022

Offaly man who threw party during Covid restrictions told gardaí to 'f**k off'

Offaly man who threw party during Covid restrictions told gardaí to 'f**k off'

Offaly man who threw party during Covid restrictions told gardaí to 'f**k off'

A man who held a party in a marquee in his garden during the Covid lockdown told a garda sergeant to "f... off" in a shop the following day when he was asked to put a mask on.

Tullamore District Court heard this week that when Sergeant Michael P Dardis was on mobile patrol on December 3, 2020, he observed a large party in progress to the rear of Michael McInerney’s home, at Dowras, Fivealley, Birr.

There were in excess of 60 people at the event with drinking and dancing in progress in breach of Covid regulations.

Mr McInerney (51) said they were all members of his own family and he had buses and taxis lined up to take everyone home.

Sgt James O’Sullivan said the offence carried a fine of €2,500 or six months in prison.

Donal Farrelly, solicitor for Mr McInerney, said it was his client’s wife who had organised the event.

Judge Catherine Staines said Mr McInerney was the one charged with the offence.

Responding Mr Farrelly said his client was separated from his wife and he didn't want any trouble.

Judge Staines told Mr Farrelly that the defendant was in total breach of Covid regulations. She said this was not a case of two people coming to the house.

She commented that it was at a time when people couldn’t go to funerals, weddings, or visit people in hospital.

She imposed 100 hours of community service in lieu of six months in prison.

Mr McInerney had been convicted in November for insulting and abusive behaviour at Loughnane's Garage, Tullamore Road, Birr, on December 4, 2020.

Tullamore District Court heard on that occasion that the prosecution arose when the man was present in Loughnane's Centra, Tullamore Road, Birr, without a face mask.

Sergeant O'Sullivan told the court that Detective Sergeant Brian Jennings was on plain clothes patrol at the time and he called to the store where an attempt was being made to regulate customers who were not wearing face masks.

Judge Staines was told that one staff member asked two men to wait at the door because the shop was overcrowded and she also asked them to put masks on.

The older of the two man, the defendant Mr McInerney, told her to “f... off” and said he was not leaving.

Det Sgt Jennings was also told to “f... off”, the court was told. The accused had one previous conviction for a public order offence.

Mr Farrelly said the accused had been at a wedding the night before and was still under the influence of alcohol.

Mr Farrelly added that Mr McInerney had lost a daughter tragically some years earlier and also suffered from diabetes and depression.

Mr McInerney, a father of seven, could not read or write but got his daughter to type a letter of regret and apology to the sergeant and Mrs Loughnane, said the solicitor.

Judge Catherine Staines indicated she would order the man to complete 80 hours of community service in lieu of three months in prison if he was deemed suitable.  This week she imposed that sentence.

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