Michael Healy-Rae tells court bullet in head threat left him rattled

Kerry TD says he was accosted in Dublin traffic by man (35) who denied making threat

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae has told a court he was left rattled from an “awful tirade of abuse” during which he was threatened he would be shot while his car was stuck in traffic in Dublin.

Cianan Doyle (35), was found guilty on Wednesday of a public order offence in connection with the incident on the morning of December 4th, 2018 at the junction of South Circular Road and Crumlin Road, at Dolphin's Barn.

He admitted using bad language, challenging Mr Healy-Rae about the homeless crisis and calling him a "Mé Féiner" when he spoke to the TD. But he denied claims he threatened he would put a bullet in his head, Dublin District Court heard.

The accused, from Beechfield Road, Perrystown, Dublin 12, was spared a conviction after he donated €1,500 to a road safety charity.

Finding him guilty, Judge Michael Walsh said his behaviour was rude but he noted his good record and struck out the case.

Mr Healy-Rae told the judge he left Kerry that morning shortly after 5am and reached Dublin at about 8.30am. He said there were two lanes and he stopped in a line of traffic. A car pulled up beside him and gestured to him to roll down his window which he did. He said the driver was cross and used very bad language and the front seat passenger, the defendant, was as bad.

“I’m not faint-hearted but what he did say then rattled me,” the politician said.

He alleged the defendant told him: “You would want a bullet put in your head and I would do it, something to that effect.”

Their car then went ahead of him and he recorded its registration plate on his dictaphone.

When he arrived at Leinster House he mentioned it to a senior garda who advised him, "If you let this go, you are wrong, you cannot be going about your business and people saying this to you."

As a politician, he was used to a lot of things but this left him cross and frightened, he told the court. “I’m not used to having someone telling me they would put a bullet in my head,” he said.

Cross-examined by defence solicitor Michael Staines he denied he had been driving in a bus lane and said he was perfectly entitled to be in the line of traffic. There were cars ahead and behind him, he said.

The solicitor put it to him that the accused said “f**ker” once or twice, that was all. Mr Healy-Rae replied that this was absolute nonsense.

Mr Staines said they were decent people.

“Decent people would not tell another person they would like to shoot them,” Mr Healy-Rae countered.

He said the accused was “roaring and screeching” and “his head was out the window, viciously agitated, for some reason only known to himself”.

In evidence, Cianan Doyle said when they noticed the politician's car to their left they had a "politically orientated exchange". In hindsight, he said, he should not have used bad language and curses but there was no threat. He said he told Mr Healy-Rae he did not care for the people of Kerry, or Ireland and that he was "Mé Féiner". He said there was no aggression just bad language and he was sorry for that.

His father, Alan Doyle, a retired taxi driver, also said they spoke to the politician, car to car, and asked him about what he was doing about the homeless.

The accused' sister Sorcha Doyle said they had been on their normal route that morning and the politician's car, which had his name emblazoned on it, was in the left lane, for buses.

There was an “adult conversation” between her brother and the TD, and their version was correct, she told the court.

However, the judge found Mr Healy-Rae’s evidence persuasive and said he accepted his evidence without reservation. He said the accused man’s behaviour was rude and totally unacceptable.

He was told Doyle had an assault conviction from an incident in 2006 when he was aged 19 but since then he had gone to college and has done well in his career. He was being brought to work that morning, the court heard.

Judge Walsh called it an aberration which should not have happened but he struck out the case after the defendant handed in €1,500 to court which will be donated to road safety and victim support charity PARC.