07 Oct 2022

Portlaoise father and son given jail for violent family dispute

Site decided for new Portlaoise courthouse.

Portlaoise Courthouse on Main Street.

A Portlaoise father and son have been sentenced to jail for their part in a violent family dispute in a local fast food outlet.

Before yesterday's (Thursday, October 5) Portlaoise District Court was Charles McDonagh (48), 4 Highfield Meadows, Borris Road, Portlaoise, charged with violent disorder; and Keith McDonagh (19), of the same address, charged with violent disorder, and criminal damage.

The offences were committed at Del Pappas Pizza, Main Street, Portlaoise.

Inspector Ollie Baker gave evidence that on March 27, 2016, at 2.50am, there was a large fight in the fast food restaurant in which Charles McDonagh sustained a cut to his forehead from broken glass.

CCTV footage showed the accused involved in the large fight in an extremely violent manner, punching and kicking numerous people.

Keith McDonagh also acted in an extremely violent manner, kicking out and punching people. He was also observed on CCTV smashing two large windows with his fist.

Charles McDonagh had eight previous convictions, including public order offences and assault.

Keith McDonagh also had previous convictions, including public order matters, obstructing a peace officer and assault. He is also due before the circuit court charged with assaulting a garda.

Defence for both men said that a dispute broke out fueled by alcohol which got out of hand and escalated.

It was a family matter, but all parties have now reconciled, said defence. The two accused are father and son.

In relation to Charles McDonagh, defence said that alcohol played a huge factor and he was not in great health.

Defence also handed in a letter from the parish priest indicating that the accused, who is a religious man, had now taken the pledge not to drink alcohol.

In relation to Keith McDonagh, a married man with a one-year-old baby, defence said he also had difficulties with alcohol and was endeavouring to address these. Defence asked the court to consider a probation report before finalising the case.

In ruling, Judge Catherine Staines said it was an extremely violent incident. Charles McDonagh punched and kicked people and he had previous convictions.

Saying she had to mark the seriousness of the offence, Judge Staines imposed ten months in prison.

In relation to Keith McDonagh, Judge Staines noted he had previous convictions. She said he had been given the benefit of the probation act before and this kind of behaviour could not be tolerated.

He was sentenced to six months in prison.

Recognisance was fixed for both men in the event of an appeal.

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