Derry pair sentenced for Grianan vandalism

Derry pair sentenced for Grianan vandalism
Two Derry men who were part of a 40 strong gang who went on a rampage at Grianan of Aileach Fort were sentenced to a month in jail.

Two Derry men who were part of a 40 strong gang who went on a rampage at Grianan of Aileach Fort were sentenced to a month in jail.

Raymond McCormick, 20, of 8 Balbane Pass, and William Sweeney, 20, of 4 Oakland Park, appeared before Buncrana District Court last Thursday.

The men had been remanded in custody since the last sitting of Letterkenny District Court on Monday last.

Garda Eddie Doherty revealed how a drink-fuelled party took place at the ancient fort the weekend before last.

When he arrived, he found a scene of carnage in which revelers had defecated in a holy well and on walkways.

Beer cans and even women’s underwear were found strewn on the inside of the courts and parts of the fort had been dismantled by the revelers.

Tourists visiting the ancient site from as far away as America and China had witnessed the scenes and had also been verbally abused.

Solicitor for the two accused, Patsy Gallagher, said it was “outrageous” that stonemasons from Leitrim were transported to repair damage at a cost of €900.

However, Judge Paul Kelly said the court was not talking about fixing a wall.

“This is a 3,000 year old national artefact. These people were from the National Monuments District and I’m actually surprised the cost is as low as it is. I’m surprised they will be able to repair it at all,” he said.

Judge Kelly made it clear the accused were not getting out until the money was paid.

Solicitor Patsy Gallagher said the money was in court to pay the OPW, adding that, having spent almost a week in prison, both men were trembling with fear at the thought of going back behind bars.

Judge Kelly hit out at the treatment of visitors stating it was “absolutely appalling” intimidating and harassing an American woman and Chinese family.

He sentenced both men to one month in prison but suspended the sentence for 12 months.