Offaly men want court curfew relaxed so they can tend to pregnant mare

Court hears all the men had an interest in horses and one of them had a mare in foal and was very protective of the animal.

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Court reporter

Offaly men want court curfew relaxed so they can tend to pregnant mare

Four men applied to Tullamore District Court for amendment of bail conditions

THE need to look after a pregnant mare was one of the reasons advanced when a relaxation of a curfew imposed on four men was sought at Tullamore District Court.

Judge Bernadette Owens also heard that a wish to see children and grandchildren was another reason why the curfew should be shortened.

James McCarthy, aged 49 and from 160 Arden View, Tullamore; 20-year-old John McCarthy, 29 Puttaghaun Close, Tullamore; James Ward, 19, and from 146 Arden View, and 20-year-old Bernie Ward, also 146 Arden View, have been accused of violent disorder in Arden View on April 9 last.

At a previous court appearance they were granted bail but were subject to a curfew between 6pm and 9am.

At last week's sitting of the District Court the men's solicitor, Donal Farrelly, sought a relaxation of the curfew for a few hours each evening.

He had told a previous sitting that his clients wished to have the curfew changed so they would have more time to look after horses.

Det Garda Pat O'Connell objected to a change in the bail conditions on the grounds of public safety.

He said the gardai still feared for the safety of the public and their view was that there was still a volatile situation.

Det Garda O'Connell said there had been no further incidents involving the men but he believed the curfew was a factor in that.

He said the hours between 9am and 5pm gave the men enough time to conduct their business and there was no other reason for them to be out during the Covid crisis.

Mr Farrelly told the court all the men had an interest in horses and kept horses and one of them had a mare in foal and was very protective of the animal.

Mr Farrelly also said there had been some efforts to bring together the parties involved in the alleged dispute which led to the charges and there had been no incidents.

The solicitor also said James McCarthy had children and grandchildren he wished to see so he applied to have the beginning of the curfew varied to either 9pm or 10pm.

Det Garda O'Connell said the man could see his children and grandchildren in the available hours and repeated that public safety must be maintained.

He added that the gardai had no information about a mare and Sgt James O'Sullivan told the court another family member could care for her.

Mr Farrelly said it would be in the best interests of the mare that its owner cared for it.

Having heard Mr Farrelly's initial application, Judge Bernadette Owens said when the defendants first came before her court on April 10 the curfew to which they were subjected had been suggested by them.

Mr Farrelly said that was in the context of the gardai seeking the remand his clients in custody but matters had now settled down and there had been an effort to broker peace.

He said the other conditions of the bail could remain, including the requirement on the men to hand up their passports.

In addition to the curfew, the men are required to present themselves daily at Tullamore garda station and not have any contact with others allegedly involved in the incident which led to the charges.

He said all that was now being sought was a relaxation in the hours of the curfew during the summertime.

The court was also told that directions had not yet been received from the DPP and Det Garda O'Connell said there had been further arrests and the file was being compiled.

He applied for a remand to July 22 next.

Judge Owens said the existing curfew was from 6pm to 9am and she would amend it to 8pm to 9am, noting that directions from the DPP would not be available until July 22. She remanded the men on continuing bail to that date.

She also warned the defendants that very strict bail conditions remained in place and the gardai could come back to court seeking to have the bail revoked.