Gravedigger charged following spate of vandalism to headstones at Cork cemetery

Accused (63) released on bail after being charged with 16 counts of criminal damage

A 63-year-old gravedigger has been remanded on bail after he was arrested and charged in connection with a spate of vandalism where some headstones were knocked over and others were sprayed with paint in a graveyard in Cork

Pat McSweeney from Marian Terrace, Douglas Road in Cork was charged with a total of 16 counts of criminal damage to the 16 headstones at St Mary and St John's Church, Station Road, Ballincollig, Co Cork on March 13th, contrary to the Criminal Damage Act 1991.

Garda Gary Brennan gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution and told Cork District Court how he arrested Mr McSweeney at his home and later brought him to Togher Garda station where he charged him and Mr McSweeney replied after caution: "I can't argue with that."

Judge Olann Kelleher asked if the defendant had said that to all of the charges and Garda Brennan confirmed that the defendant had replied "I can't argue with that" to all 16 charges when they were put to him after caution outside Togher Garda station.

Bail

Sgt Pat Lyons said that gardaí had no objection to Mr McSweeney being released on bail once he agreed to abide by a number of conditions and defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer said his client was happy to abide by the bail terms being sought by gardaí.

Sgt Lyons said gardaí were seeking that Mr McSweeney would stay out of cemeteries in Cork city and county, except for the purpose of a family funeral, should this arise and Mr Buttimer confirmed he would abide by the very specific condition.

He also confirmed Mr McSweeney was willing to reside at his home address at Marian Tce on the Douglas Road in Cork, notify gardaí of any change of address and sign on at Togher Garda station every Monday and Friday.

Judge Kelleher granted Mr McSweeney bail and remanded on those conditions to appear again on May 18ah to allow gardaí prepare a file on the matter and obtain directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions in respect of the case.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times

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