Portlaoise man egged on crowd

A PORTLAOISE man with 19 previous convictions who drunkenly encouraged a crowd of people to “take on the gardaí” was last week given community service in lieu of prison.

A PORTLAOISE man with 19 previous convictions who drunkenly encouraged a crowd of people to “take on the gardaí” was last week given community service in lieu of prison.

Michael O’Brien, 3 Clonrookse View, Portlaoise, was charged with using threatening behaviour and failing to comply with the direction of the gardaí, at the Top Square, Portlaoise, on March 17. Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that the gardaí were dealing with an incident at 11.30pm when the defendant began shouting across, “egging on the crowd to take on the gardaí”.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said her client knew two of the individuals the gardaí were dealing with on the night and so he “put his nose where he shouldn’t have”. Ms Fitzpatrick told the court that on the day, O’Brien had won some money on a race and decided to spend it on drink.

“He knows drinks doesn’t suit him,” she admitted.

Imposing 100 hours’ community service in lieu of three months in prison, Judge Catherine Staines warned O’Brien: “If you appear before me again you’re going to prison.”