Limerick Courthouse, Mulgrave Street
SEVERAL members of the same family have been sentenced for their roles in a violent brawl which erupted following a “gender reveal party”.
Details of the bizarre incident, which happened at Hyde Road, Prospect, emerged during a sentencing hearing last week.
Detective Garda Eoghan McDonagh told Limerick Circuit Court that members of the extended O’Donoghue family gathered on the afternoon of April 6, 2019 for a party to learn the gender of an unborn child.
The detective said the celebrations “continued into the early hours” and that gardai were alerted to a violent disturbance outside a neighbouring house at around 6am on April 7, 2019.
The defendants are: Christopher McCarthy, 55, Annie O’Donoghue, 48; Christopher O’Donoghue, 28, Lisa O’Donoghue, 26, Aaron O’Donoghue, 20, all of Hyde Road and Darragh Connery, 22, of Geraldine Villas, Mulgrave Street.
Judge Tom O’Donnell was told a window at the neighbouring house was smashed by an unidentified lone male at around 6am and that this sparked a verbal altercation between the occupants of the house and a number of the O’Donoghues.
Detective Garda McDonagh said other members of the O’Donoghue family – some of whom had been in bed – then arrived and matters quickly escalated.
He told John O’Sullivan BL, prosecuting, a petrol bomb was thrown through the sitting room window by another individual and that some of the defendants then “attempted to gain entry” to confront the occupants.
A variety of objects including beer bottles, rocks and garden ornaments were thrown at the front of the house.
“It was almost like a siege at a medieval fortress,” said Mr O’Sullivan who added that the “intruders were repelled” until gardai arrived.
However, tensions continued following the arrival of gardai with both sides throwing vile insults and threats at each other.
“All hell broke loose,” said Detective McDonagh. “There was lots of screaming and roaring”.
Lawyers representing the defendants urged the court to note their guilty pleas and the fact that there have been no further incidents involving the parties.
Judge O’Donnell said what happened was akin to mob rule and cannot be tolerated but he accepted that peace has been restored.
“It was frightening and violent in the extreme and could have had ver serious consequences,” he commented.
He imposed a two-and-a-half year prison sentence in each case.
All of the sentences were suspended in their entirety.