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29 Jan 2022

Garda 'feared for her life' during violent row in the Midlands

Longford Courthouse.

Two men appeared in court today charged with assaulting two gardaí during their duties as peace officers in an incident in Longford more than two years ago

A garda has spoken of how she feared for her life after she and a colleague were assaulted during a violent row in the Midlands over two years ago.

Garda Angela Keegan said she had "never experienced such evil and contempt" in more than 26 hours of frontline policing following an incident at Knockloughlin, Ballinalee Road, Longford on August 10, 2019.

Martin Nevin Jnr (22), 59 Parkmore, Tuam, Co Galway and Hugh Myres (54), 18 Ardleigh Crescent, Mullingar, Co Westmeath both appeared before a sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court charged with assaulting a peace officer during the course of their duties.

The long serving garda, together with Garda Shane Carr had been called to deal with a domestic disturbance shortly after 9pm.

The court heard family members of Martin Nevin Jnr, 59 Parkmore, Tuam, Co Galway contacted gardai a short time earlier seeking his removal from the family home in Knocloughlin.

When both gardai arrived, they were met by four females who were described as being in an "excited and agitated" state before making their way inside.

In the sitting room of the property, they found both men sitting on a couch.

Counsel for the prosecution Shane Geraghty BL, said despite Mr Nevin Jnr being informed he was no longer welcome, Mr Myres told his nephew he did not have to comply with the request and remain where he was.

It was at that stage, when the duo along with both gardai that the incident escalated, resulting in Mr Nevin Jnr calling Garda Carr "a cancerous dying b*******" while attempting to head butt him.

A scuffle ensued which led to Mr Nevin Jnr attempting to gouge the eye of Garda Carr on the ground.

The court heard Garda Keegan was forced to use pepper spray and cause for emergency assistance in a bid to diffuse the row, causing some to squirt into the eyes of Garda Carr and incapacitated the officer.

Both men were later arrested and charged with assaulting a peace officer in the course of their duty.

In a victim impact statement, Garda Keegan said the incident had left her with flashbacks, sleep depravity and feelings of self doubt in being able to carry out her duties as a rank and file member of the Gardai.

"The incident has had the most profound effect on me in over 26 years of frontline policing," she said, adding she had never been met with "such evil and contempt".

Medical reports handed into the court detailed how Garda Keegan had sustained injuries to her face,knees and abdomen areas with the experienced garda being forced to sign off sick from work for almost four weeks due to the onset of post traumatic stress disorder.

Garda Carr, in his victim impact statement said he continued to suffer from lower back pain as a result of the incident and "no longer felt confident in dealing with volatile situations" as a serving garda.

He said the episode had likewise impacted on his personal life in preventing him to play with his young children at home in any meaningful way.

Judge Keenan Johnson described the incident as "absolutely and wholly reprehensible", warning both men of how their actions warranted "significant custodial sentences".

He adjourned sentencing until a sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court on May 17.
 

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