EIGHT men have been given community service, with some also receiving suspended prison sentences, for causing a violent disturbance in Portlaoise’s Top Square on St Patrick’s Day last year.
Before the recent circuit court was Owen Connolly, 3 Oaklawn, Ballyfin Road; Craig Dollard, 9 Mountain View Square; Daniel Houlihan, 12 Parnell Crescent; Gary Holohan, 12 Clonmine Close, Bellingham; John Houlihan, 15 Mountain View; Paul Kelly, with addresses at 8 Green Rd, Mountmellick Rd, and 12 O’Moore Place, Portlaoise; Jason Murphy 16 Lakeglen; and Richard O’Shea, 7 Gandon Close, Fairgreen Village.
All eight pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Craig Dollard, John Houlihan, Daniel Houlihan and Paul Kelly also pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm.
The case has been before the local court on numerous dates, with evidence given by Sgt Jeremiah Kirby at the April sitting of the circuit court. CCTV footage was played in April, which showed what State prosecutor, Mr Will Fennelly described as “a big street brawl”.
At 8pm on March 17, 2012, Daniel Houlihan and Paul Kelly entered Lockey’s bar in the Top Square, where a Mr Anthony Ryan was present. There was bad blood between Mr Ryan and Houilhan and words were exchanged. Both men squared up to each other, and Paul Kelly left the pub and ran across the road to another licensed premises, where a number of other men were drinking. Houlihan and Mr Ryan were ushered out of Lockey’s and were on the street, along with Mr Ryan’s girlfriend and Owen Connolly. Kelly and the other men then ran across the road and met up with Mr Ryan.
Daniel Houlihan swung punches at Mr Ryan. Paul Kelly was seen hitting out at Mr Ryan’s girlfriend. Craig Dollard and Jason Murphy were also hitting Mr Ryan. Mr Ryan was shoved against a car by Daniel Houlihan and fell to the ground with Houlihan on top, still hitting him.
Sgt Kirby said it was his opinion that John Houlihan stepped in and attempted to stop the fight. However, Kelly then stomped on Mr Ryan on the ground. Owen Connolly and Kelly then squared up to one another, while both John Houlihan and Gary Holohan tried to stop the attack on Mr Ryan. Kelly took a run and kicked Mr Ryan on the ground, which led to Kelly and Connolly getting into a fight.
Craig Dollard then entered the scene with a bottle, which he smashed off the ground, before Jason Murphy intervened and stopped Dollard from proceeding with the broken bottle. Richard O’Shea intervened in the fight between Kelly and another man, which left Kelly with his shirt pulled off.
The injured party, Mr Anthony Ryan suffered a broken jaw, which required him to have three metal plates inserted in his face.
There was a second incident some 15 minutes later, when a man who had been present at the fight in the Top Square was headbutted and punched by John Houlihan on Main Street. During this incident, Craig Dollard swung a wild kick at the injured party on the ground. The kick did not connect.
Judge Tony Hunt adjourned all matters to October 15, for probation and community service reports. He said the incident had been a disgrace, and remarked that Craig Dollard and Paul Kelly were particular stand-outs.
At last week’s court, John Houlihan was given 180 hours’ community service on the violent disorder charge, and a 12 month sentence for assault causing harm, suspended for 12 months on his own bond of €300 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. He paid €1,000 compensation.
Richard O’Shea was given 180 hours’ community service in lieu of 18 months in prison.
Owen Connelly, who Judge Hunt said had “a very bad previous record”, was given a two year sentence, suspended for two years on his own bond of €300 to keep the peace, and to engage with the probation services for 12 months.
Jason Murphy was given 120 hours’ community service in lieu of 12 months in prison.
Gary Holohan was given 120 hours’ community service in lieu of 12 months in prison.
Daniel Houlihan was given a 12 month suspended sentence for the assault charge, and 180 hours’ community service in lieu of 18 months in prison for violent disorder. He paid €1,000 compensation.
Craig Dollard was given 180 hours’ community service in lieu of 18 months in prison for violent disorder, and a 12 month suspended sentence for assault causing harm. He must be of good behaviour and keep the peace for 12 months, abstain from alcohol, and not enter any licensed premises.
Paul Kelly was given 180 hours’ community service in lieu of 18 months in prison for violent disorder, and a 12 month sentence, suspended for 12 months on condition he keep the peace and be of good behaviour. He paid €400 compensation.