Cllr Sean McEniff who remains in ICU in a Dublin hospital
Veteran Donegal County Councillor Sean McEniff, who is in the Intensive Care Unit of a Dublin hospital, may “never be able to give evidence in any court”, a special sitting of Ballyshannon District Court was told today.
Mr McEniff, 81, who took ill while abroad and was flown to a Dublin hospital in an induced coma, is sought by the defence as a witness in an alleged assault case which has been before a special sitting of Ballyshannon District Court on a number of occasions.
At this morning’s special sitting Judge Paul Kelly described the line of questioning by counsel for the defence as “absurd and inappropriate” in relation to the medical condition of a witness.
Former Bundoran Town Councillor Florence McNulty, 56, of The Palace, Main Street, Bundoran, has denied assaulting Garda Helen Munnelly on February 10, 2014.
Her son Joseph McNulty, 34, of Doran Close, Bundoran, and her husband Thomas McNulty, 57, of Main Street, Bundoran, has denied abusive or insulting behaviour on the same date.
Solicitor Gerry McGovern, for Mr McEniff, handed in evidence from both the initial medical report from the Hospital in Gran Canaria and from the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin which indicated that the veteran councillor was in the ICU unit of the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin, after being flown home by Air Ambulance from Gran Canaria.
Mr. McGovern said, “I wish to make it clear that Cllr. McEniff is merely a witness on behalf of the defence in this case. There is no indication when he will be able to give evidence and I do not know if he will ever be in a position to give evidence in any court in the land.”
Supt. Colm Nevin handed in a letter to the judge from the Mater Private confirming the councillor’s medical condition.
Mr. Johnnie McCoy, for the defence, said there was a pattern of “not wanting to give evidence,” by Cllr. McEniff who he said was an essential witness in the case. He said that while they had medical certificates, they did not know what was wrong with Cllr McEniff.
Judge Paul Kelly said, “This is an absurd objection that you are making. Cllr. McEniff was admitted by Air Ambulance to the Mater Private on November 12. I don’t know what else you want. Are you questioning the veracity of these reports? It is totally inappropriate for you to cast aspersions on them. Do you think there is nothing wrong with him? We do not have to know what is actually wrong with him. I am at a complete loss to know what assistance Mr. McEniff could be in this case at all.”
Mr McGovern added, “The dogs in the street know what happened to Mr. McEniff and that he is seriously ill. All the papers have published it. Again, I would say that he is just a witness in this case.”
Judge Kelly: “I am blue in the face and fed up - this case is about an alleged incident that happened in the car park. I am at a complete loss as to why it is so important to your clients to produce Sean McEniff as a witness.”
Supt. Colm Nevin said, “I cannot see what evidence Mr. McEniff can bring to this case. At the outset I said that I would proceed with the case in his absence. I think it is plain to see what is going on. It is just a stalling matter. I think this case should proceed.”
Counsel for the defence, Mr. McCoy, argued the Sean McEniff was central to the whole incident and that is why it it was crucial that he attend. Mr McCoy said it may be that Mr McEniff could give evidence in three months; that Mr McEniff was an essential witness for the defence and that his absence severely affected the defence in its case.
Judge Kelly reserved a decision on the issue of evidence from Mr McEniff until Friday next in Ballyshannon at 10am.