Petrol bombs used in ‘ferocious encounter’ after Traveller row erupts
Nine plead guilty to violent disorder following families’ dispute over winner of ‘fair fight’
Det Garda Denis Stack told Ennis Circuit Court that in the violent incident “miraculously, no one was hurt”
A dispute between Traveller families over who won an organised 13-minute long “fair fight” between two men quickly erupted into a “ferocious encounter” at a halting site where a number of petrol bombs were thrown and other weapons were used.
At Ennis Circuit Court on Monday shocking video footage of the confrontation between members of the Molloys and Joyce/Quinn families was shown where one of the petrol bombs thrown was seen striking a Joyce-owned van.
Det Garda Denis Stack told the court that in the violent incident “miraculously, no one was hurt”.
Det Stack arrived at the Ballaghboy halting site on Ennis’s Quin Road on November 24th, 2016, 10 minutes after members of the Joyce/Quinn families had fled and he said that “there were petrol bomb fires all over the site”.
Det Stack said that metal bars, a golf club, a slash hook were also used in the confrontation.
The video showed males from the Molloy side – who live at the halting site – trying to repel the advancing Joyces and Quinns with petrol bombs.
In the case, nine men on Monday pleaded guilty to violent disorder and Judge Gerald Keys said: “What I have observed here is absolutely appalling. All of you have let your own side down.”
He said: “You should be ashamed of yourself and apologise to your fellow Travellers that you would behave in that manner.”
He said: “What will the ordinary person think about ye when reading about this in the papers?”
Judge Keys and the court also viewed two videos of Travellers “calling out” for a fight that were posted on Facebook and Judge Keys accused the Travellers of engaging in “macho, childish behaviour”.
He said: “You boast about your traditions about having a fair fight. You have a system whereby there are two referees – they said it was a draw and you wouldn’t accept it.
He said: “If you believe in your tradition, live by it. You should have accepted the ruling whether it was right or wrong, there is such a thing as a rematch if you want to go down that road.”
Judge Keys said that if a jury watched the petrol bomb video and had the powers to send the accused to jail, “they would send you all away and rightly so”.
Judge Keys said that the type of conduct “shows a poor picture of Travellers which can lead to intolerance and can lead to discrimination. You owe a very strong apology to your fellow Travellers for that type of conduct”.
Counsel for the one of the accused, Brian McInerney BL said that the Travellers and their families have come together to pay more than €10,000 to three charities after Judge Keys demanded that they pay over an amount of money. Mr McInerney said that the money to be paid out would go some way to restoring the reputation of the people concerned.
The court heard that the families are on speaking terms again and that peace has broken out after the sides met with a mediator to iron out their problems.