A YOUNG father who got into a fight on Portlaoise’s main street after the St Patrick’s Day parade, avoided conviction at the District Court sitting of last Thursday April 4.
Michael O’Reilly aged 19, of Main Road, Clonkeen, Portlaoise was instead given 20 hours of community service and a €200 fine by Judge Catherine Staines.
Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that Portlaoise Garda Orla Clarke was alerted to a disturbance on the street on St Patrick’s day. She arrived to find two men fighting, with a large crowd still on the street following the parade.
One of the men ran away and the other, O’Reilly, ran into a pub. He hid in a shed at the back of it, where he was found by the Garda.
O’Reilly who is unemployed, had eight previous convictions but none for assault. His solicitor Ann Manning told the judge he had not had a drink on the day, and was willing to contribute to the court poorbox to avoid a conviction.
“This is a young man out on Patrick’s day with his wife and young baby. He had been friends (with the other man) but they had fallen out. There was some taunting, and a brief altercation. He took fright when the Garda arrived. He is embarrassed and he accepts it shouldn’t have taken place. He is very apologetic for his behaviour. His wife is expecting their second child in a few weeks,” Ms Manning said.
“Do you appreciate that people at the parade must have been very frightened?” Judge Staines asked Michael O’Reilly.
She then told him to carry out at least 20 hours of certified voluntary work, suggesting the local Tidy Towns group, and gave him a deadline of May 9 to pay €200 to the court poorbox.