Donegal court serenaded by harpist facing motoring charges

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Donegal court serenaded by  harpist facing motoring charges

Liam McCluskey pictured leaving Ballyshannon Court.

A Bundoran harpist serenaded Ballyshannon District Court with a famous old Celtic tune before proceedings began on Friday morning.

The 6'4'', 36-year-old bearded Liam McCluskey, Ardfarna, Bundoran gave a memorable rendering of ‘Buachaill On Eirne’, a tune made popular by Donegal traditional group Clannad and the Corrs.

The performance went on for around one minute and grew gradually louder, as a garda repeatedly asked for silence in court as the poet/harpist cradled his instrument on his lap.

The music stopped when Judge Kevin Kilrane entered the court.

When the case was called, the defendant, who was before the court on road traffic charges and one public order charge, was not legally represented.

He was asked to take a seat in the witness box by Judge Kilrane.

Mr McCluskey declined, saying he would rather stand. “I don’t have a solicitor and I don’t wish to have one."

When asked if he was pleading guilty or not guilty he said he had “zero tolerance”.

Judge Kilrane said he understood the defendant was pleading not guilty. The defendant said the court could not enter a not guilty plea for him.

“You don’t have the jurisdiction. I am as a man here”.

The case was adjourned to April 7 for hearing and the defendant was remanded on continuing bail.

About ten minutes later the defendant was brought back into court by a garda and formally charged with a motoring offence.

He was asked again if he wanted a solicitor. The defendant replied: “I will go now”.

Mr McCluskey was before the court on charges of dangerous driving, at Laghty, Glenfarne, on August 19, at Cartronribbagh, Manorhamilton, at Ardagh Rossinver, at Rooskey Kinlough, at Shasmore Manorhamilton, and at Brockagh Lower, Glenfarne on the same date. He faced a further dangerous driving charge at Magheracar Bundoran and also a no insurance and no licence charge on January 14.

The defendant is also charged with failing to appear at Manorhamilton District Court on December 14, failing to appear at Glenties Court on November 23 and having no insurance and using threatening and abusive behaviour at Slieve Glencolmcille and Oideas Gael, Glencolmcille on October 28.

The case was adjourned until April 7.