A JUDGE has said the actions of a group of young men who were intercepted by gardai ahead of a planned attack at the home of a family in Castletroy cannot be tolerated.
Judge Tom O’Donnell made his comments after hearing details of an incident which happened shortly before midnight on October 16, 2013.
Limerick Circuit Court was told eight men who were carrying an assortment of weapons such as pick-axe handles and screwdrivers were arrested after gardai stopped a Volkswagen Golf during a surveillance operation which had been put in place outside a house at Bru Na Gruadan.
During a sentencing hearing relating to six of the men, Detective Garda Ivan Muldoon said the incident was connected to a dispute between members of two extended families.
He said on the date of the offence, gardai received confidential information that an attack was to be carried out at the home of Christopher and Nora O’Donnell in retaliation to the making of a formal complaint by the O’Donnells in relation to a previous incident.
Gardai, he said, removed the family from the house and set up a surveillance operation – resulting the arrest of the men around an hour later.
The six defendants are: Shane Ryan-Casey, aged 21 of April Rise, Old Cork Road Martin McDonagh, aged 28, of the unofficial halting site at Coonagh Roundabout; Patrick Casey, aged 23, of Clonlong, Southill; Jason McDonagh, aged 25, of St Nessan’s Court, Dooradoyle; Jason Stokes, aged 23 of Woodpark, Castleconnell and Wesley Stokes, aged 20 of Curragh Birin, Castletroy.
Another occupant of the car has since died while the eighth was not before the court because of his age.
Adjourning sentence to the new year, Judge O’Donnell likened the behaviour of the defendants to that of a lynch mob. “This type of behaviour is not acceptable in a civilised society,” he said adding that the level of violence shown was “completely and utterly off the Richter Scale”.
The judge noted the O’Donnells have since split up and are no longer living in Limerick and that there have been no further incidents since.
While noting that the offence was linked to a family dispute which had gotten out of control he said he was keeping all of his options open.