A NUMBER of men charged with causing a violent disturbance in Portlaoise’s Top Square on St Patrick’s Day have had their strict bail conditions lifted for one day, to allow them to attend the wedding on a licensed premises of one of their group.
Before the recent Circuit Court was Owen Connolly, 3 Oaklawn, Ballyfin Road; Craig Dollard, 9 Mountain View Square; 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 seven pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Craig Dollard, John Houlihan and Paul Kelly also pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing harm.
Also before the court was Niall Connolly, 3 Oaklawn, Ballyfin Road, who pleaded not guilty to the charge of violent disorder.
The ninth man involved in the case was Daniel Houlihan, 12 Parnell Crescent, who had pleaded guilty to violent disorder and assault causing harm at a previous court sitting.
The matter was put back to May 2. The men were released on their own bail of €100, with conditions that they must stay away from alcohol and licenced premises, they must stay away from Portlaoise Main Street and they must adhere to a curfew of 8pm to 7am Thursday to Sunday.
Defence for Gary Holohan told Judge Tony Hunt that his client is getting married on April 12 and he requested that Holohan’s bail conditions be lifted for that day.
A number of Holohan’s co-defendants are also attending the wedding and submissions were made for their conditions to be lifted as well. They are Craig Dollard, Jason Murphy, Richard O’Shea and Daniel and John Houlihan.
Judge Hunt agreed to lift the bail conditions for April 12/13, but he said he wanted some discretion to be observed by the defendants concerning what is consumed.
State prosecutor, Mr Will Fennelly told the judge that the gardaí want the men to remain on the licensed premises where the wedding reception is taking place, and they have also asked for the men to abstain from alcohol.
However, Judge Hunt said he would not make an order he could not monitor, especially one that did not take into account human nature, and he advised moderation instead of abstinence.
“Any excess would not be helpful to their case,” he said.