Dublin football star Diarmuid Connolly ‘acted despicably’

Court hears footballer ‘cynically avoided’ service of personal injuries proceedings

Ray Managh

Dublin football star Diarmuid Connolly “acted despicably” and “cynically avoided” service on him of personal injuries proceedings alleging he assaulted Anthony Kelly, the Circuit Civil Court heard on Friday.

Mr Kelly’s solicitor Robert Dore said Mr Connolly had “brutally assaulted” Mr Kelly in McGowan’s Public House, Phibsborough, Dublin, in August 2012 and later pleaded guilty in the District Court to a criminal charge under the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.

Mr Dore, of Dore and Company Solicitors, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that arising out of “this vicious assault” in which Mr Kelly had suffered serious personal injury, Mr Connolly had been prosecuted before District Judge Patrick Clyne.

Mr Dore said the case against Mr Connolly had been dismissed on the basis that he had attended an anger management course and had done community service by way of coaching children in Gaelic football. He had also paid €5,000 to Mr Kelly who had directed the money be handed to a charity.

Mr Dore told Judge Linnane that on April 24th, 2015 the Injuries Board had made an assessment of damages against Mr Connolly in favour of Mr Kelly for €46,815.

“Given the serious nature of the injuries sustained by [MR KELLY] he declined this assessment,” Mr Dore said in a sworn affidavit fully opened to the court.

“Ultimately an Authorisation under Section 32 of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Acts...authorised [MR KELLY] to bring proceedings against Mr Connolly.”

Mr Dore said a personal injuries summons against Mr Connolly (and Cavalier Taverns, trading as McGowans) was issued in the Dublin Circuit Court on November 25th, 2015.

On March 15th, 2016 he had written to M.E. Hanahoe solicitors, representing Mr Connolly, enclosing a copy of the summons and asking that they would confirm they had the authority to accept service of it on behalf of Mr Connolly.

On the following day, Mr Dore said M.E. Hanahoe had replied that they had written to their client for instructions and would revert.

On April 22nd, 2016 he again wrote to M.E. Hanahoe stating that as they had failed to revert, personal service on Mr Connolly would be affected.

“I spoke with Michael Hanahoe on a number of occasions, most particularly in early September 2016 regarding service, and he asked me to hold off serving proceedings until the all-Ireland football final had taken place in which [MR CONNOLLY] was playing on the Dublin team,” Mr Dore said.

Mr Dore said he firmly believed M.E. Hanahoe had authority to accept service and wrote to them again on October 28th, 2016 asking them to endorse acceptance on behalf of Mr Connolly.

“I was most surprised and taken aback to receive a letter from M.E. Hanahoe…stating they could not accept proceedings on his behalf,” Mr Dore said. The original summons was returned without acceptance of service.

Mr Dore said on November 8th, 2016 he sent, by registered post, the personal injury summons to Mr Connolly at an address furnished by M.E. Hanahoe in Collins Park, Collins Avenue, Beaumont, Dublin.

It had been returned marked “not known at this address.”

Mr Dore told the court that on November 14th, 2016 he again wrote to M.E. Hanahoe pointing out “that the conduct of their client was despicable bearing in mind what was represented to Judge Clyne in the District Court” and the content of their letter to him of April 7th, 2014.

He said he retained the services of a private investigator who confirmed Mr Connolly did not live at the Beaumont address but in fact resided at an address on Clanranald Road, Donnycarney, Dublin.

Mr Dore added: “In circumstances where [MR CONNOLLY] has deliberately thwarted [MR KELLY] in advancing his proceedings, by cynically avoiding service of the proceedings on him, despite his assurances to the District Court on foot of which a prosecution against him was dismissed,” he asked the court for an order extending time for service of the personal injury summons on Mr Connolly.

Judge Linnane said she had no problem renewing the personal injuries summons against Mr Connolly for another six months and extending time for service of it by registered post on Mr Connolly at the Donnycarney address.

The judge was told the second defendant in the case, Cavalier Taverns trading as McGowans, had already been served with legal proceedings and had entered an appearance indicating their future participation in the case.