Monday, 20 September 2010 11:23
A district Judge has handed out unusual punishment to a man who used foul language to a garda – he told the defendant he has a month (October 11) to travel to Mayo and make the pilgrimage to the summit of Croagh Patrick.
At Milford District Court in Letterkenny last week, Judge Séamus Hughes told Joseph McElwee (38) of Aughavennan, Rathmullan, Co. Donegal, he was to do the four stations of the famous Mayo pilgrimage as a mark of respect for his fellow Irish people, especially those in the line of duty.
McElwee was charged with threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour, intoxication, disorderly conduct, wilful obstruction and failing to comply with the direction of a garda.
Judge Hughes had heard how the defendant was part of a group of three who approached two members of the gardaí outside a pub in Rathmullan and began verbally abusing them on March 28 last.
Garda Nicholas Freyne told the court while they were on duty in Rathmullan, they saw a large crowd gathered outside a public house and three individuals approached them.
The defendant called Garda Freyne a "Mayo w****r" and said "f*** off home to Mayo" continuing his abuse for 10 minutes according to the garda's evidence.
Solicitor Kieran O'Gorman said his client was a 38-year-old unemployed joiner and father-of-two who had never been in trouble before.
Mr. O'Gorman said McElwee had personally apologised to Garda Freyne for his remarks.
"He was out with friends on the night and drink was the cause here," the solicitor said.
The judge asked the defendant whether he had ever been to his native Co. Mayo and climbed Croagh Patrick.
"I want you to come back in a month's time with evidence that you did the four stations of Croagh Patrick, and say a few prayers.
"You then might have a different impression of Co. Mayo and its people and it will be in recognition to your fellow Irish people especially those in the line of duty."
Mr. O'Gorman asked the judge how his client would be able to prove that he climbed Croagh Patrick, to which Judge Hughes replied that he will have questions prepared.
"You better have the answers, and I will know whether you are telling the truth or not."