Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan ordered to pay €6,000 over assaults

Illness ‘completely inhibited her judgment’, says judge in air rage case

Singer Dolores O’Riordan outside Ennis District Court in Co Clare. Photograph: Eamon Ward

Singer Dolores O’Riordan outside Ennis District Court in Co Clare. Photograph: Eamon Ward

 

Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan left Ennis District Court yesterday after a judge said she had not been treated any differently from anyone else who came before him in similar circumstances.

Judge Patrick Durcan said that it would be “unfair and unjust to criminalise” Ms O’Riordan who had pleaded guilty to “air rage”-related offences at Shannon Airport in 2014.

Judge Durcan said the actions of the 44-year-old mother of three on November 10th, 2014, “all occurred when the defendant was suffering from a very severe mental illness”.

Several medical reports in the case stated the mental illness Ms O’Riordan was suffering from at the time “completely inhibited her judgment”, he added.

Judge Durcan said the fact the singer did not remember any of the incident showed she was incapable of understanding or recording what she was doing at the time.

On his ruling not to criminalise Ms O’Riordan, he said this was the practice of his court in public order-related cases where someone had an unblemished character.

“Indeed, let me be utterly clear that the defendant in this case is not being treated differently to anyone else. It will be noted that many other people were treated in a like manner by this court today,” he added.

Very positive

Speaking outside court after sentencing, Ms O’Riordan said: “I just want to say I’m glad it’s over and I want to thank the doctors who got back my health mentally. I am feeling very good today, very positive about this upcoming year. I have new albums coming out and I am going to go back to work.”

When asked about the stigma over mental illness and whether it was time people spoke out and opened up more, Ms O’Riordan said “of course” and urged those suffering similar problems to “just reach out for help”.

“I’m okay now,” she said, adding she wanted “to keep the art flowing”.

Ms O’Riordan, of Friarstown, Grange, Kilmallock, Co Limerick, had pleaded guilty to assaulting Garda Shane Dawson and two members of the airport police at Shannon, Ronan O’Reilly and Éamon Power.

She also pleaded guilty to resisting or wilfully obstructing Garda Dawson in the execution of his duty.

Spitting

In his judgment yesterday, Judge Durcan said that Ms O’Riordan’s serious assaults were aggravated by her appalling behaviour – her attempt to escape custody and unfounded groping allegations against a garda.

The judge observed: “To be fair to the defendant, a plea of guilty was submitted early and it is probably true to say that if the defendant vigorously defended these offences, the prosecution could have been in considerable difficulty.”

He said that Ms O’Riordan accepted that a serious wrong had been done and approached the righting of that wrong in a very responsible, fulsome and wholesome manner and had written letters of apology to the victims.

Judge Durcan said he would not impose any criminal sanction “in light of the early plea of guilty and acceptance of the evidence, the written apologies to the victims, no previous convictions and Ms O’Riordan’s unblemished character”.