WATCH Laois men who rammed garda cars brought to Portlaoise court for sentencing

Sentencing judge has said theft from farms is “an attack on the fabric of rural society”.

Three Laois men have been brought to court in Portlaoise to for sentencing arising from a incident in which a number of gardaí were hospitalised after a stolen jeep rammed two garda cars.

Before Portlaoise Circuit Court today (Thursday, July 29) were Thomas McInerney, (41), Twomey Park, Mountmellick, his brother Gerard McInerney, (39), Moonbaun Close, Mountrath and their cousin William McInerney, (37), Newline Close, Mountrath. All of the men originally hail from the Mountrath area.

All three have previously pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property, namely a trailer, and the unauthorised taking of an MPV, at Cloncourse, Mountrath, on July 12, 2016.

In addition, Thomas McInerney pleaded to guilty to two further counts of having possession of stolen property (a bolt cutter and a white hacksaw); William McInerney pleaded guilty to one further count of the same (a nail bar and wire cutters); and Gerard McInerney pleaded guilty to one further count of having possession of stolen property (snips and a wooden claw hammer).

The three men have been in custody since their arrest in July 2016.

At the initial sentencing hearing on July 13 this year, Judge Keenan Johnson adjourned sentence but concluded the hearing by saying thefts from farms were “an attack on the fabric of rural society”.

During the hearing Garda Chief Supt John Scanlon gave details of the impact on gardaí who attended the scene. Garda Vincent O'Brien of the Armed Response Unit was among those on the scene. 

"It was the most terrifying incident I was ever exposed to," read Chief Supt Scanlon from Garda O'Brien's statement.

The statement continued that Garda O'Brien was "convinced" that he was about to be "run over" or that he or one of his colleagues was going to be "killed".

Other gardaí were caught up in the incident. Chief Supt Scanlon also read evidence from Garda Eoin Maher's statement. The detective was driving one of the vehicles.  The car he was driving was hit on the driver's side. Garda Maher remains on sick leave with several injuries.

Character references for two of the men charged were described as “blatantly inaccurate” by Judge Keenan Johnson at continuation of the sentencing this week circuit court.

Mr John Hargroves gave evidence that he had employed William McInerney and Thomas McInerney with his company, Silvercrete Construction Ltd, back in 2007.

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