Two brothers-in-law have pleaded guilty to their part in a late night fracas in which Donegal senator Brian Ó Domhnaill was assaulted.
Cathal O’Donovan, who is from Cork, but lives at 8 Milner Walk, New Eltham, London pleaded guilty at Letterkenny Circuit Court to assault causing harm to Mr Ó Domhnaill at Meenderrygamph, Gaoth Dobhair on August 22nd, 2010.
Jim Sharkey, who is originally from Annagry but has an address in Bayside, New York, admitted engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour with the intention to provoke a breach of the peace.
The case against O’Donovan was adjourned for sentencing until July for the preparation of a probation and welfare report.
Judge Keenan Johnston heard that the two men were visiting Donegal for a family christening and were on their way home after having a few drinks when the incident occurred.
Garda Rory Harrison told the court that gardaí were called to a report of two men causing trouble at An Chúirt Hotel at 4.50am. The two men had met Mr Ó Domhnaill outside a chip shop before they got on the minibus. State barrister Patricia McLaughlin said the men claimed Mr Ó Domhnaill had told them that they could get on the minibus but he denied he said that. When they discovered the bus was not going in the direction they were going trouble broke out, she said.
The barrister said there were different versions of what had happened but the two men then agreed they would be dropped outside the hotel. O’Donovan and Sharkey wanted to get back on the bus to speak to Mr Ó Domhnaill but he didn’t get off the bus.
Ms McLaughlin said both men were acting in an aggressive way and were actively trying to get back on the bus to challenge Mr Ó Domhnaill. Other passengers on the bus were left frightened, she said.
Details of the assault that O’Donovan has admitted were not heard in court. Defence barrister Damien Crawford said Sharkey, a father of two, has no previous convictions and has lived in the US for more than 20 years.
Judge Johnston said quite clearly the defendant had too much too drink but the incident seemed to be an aberration and it would not be appropriate to impose a conviction. The judge said Mr Ó Domnhaill was the injured party, had no case to answer to the court and no adverse influence should be placed on his character. Judge Johnson ordered Sharkey to pay €5,000 to the Friends of Letterkenny General Hospital.