Four jailed for violent Patrick's Day attacks


FOUR MEN involved in a series of violent attacks on six people attending a St Patrick’s Day parade, including a US tourist, have been jailed for terms ranging from three to 10 years.

The men, aged between 18 and 22, were sentenced at Clonmel Circuit Court yesterday for their involvement in a series of “unprovoked attacks” on “innocent” members of the public in Tipperary town on March 17th last year.

Two of the men, brothers Ned (22) and Dan Delaney (19), of Carrowclough, Tipperary, were both handed the maximum 10-year sentence for the offence of violent disorder committed on the day.

Sgt John Keane told the court the men were part of a gang who “were drinking all day” and who unleashed “untold fear amongst the decent citizens of Tipperary”.

US tourist James Faul gave evidence last November of how he was attacked from behind by a gang of men while visiting Tipperary with his wife for the St Patrick’s Day parade.

Mr Faul sustained a broken nose and a fracture to the bone around his left eye, requiring insertion of a titanium plate. He has suffered continuous double vision as a result of the attack.

James Griffin (46) was knocked to the ground, punched repeatedly and kicked about 10 times as he left the Kickham House pub with his partner at 5.58pm.

Judge Thomas Teehan said in his 40 years of presiding over criminal cases, this was among the “most sickening” acts of violence inflicted on innocent victims that he had experienced. He added: “Word must go out that courts will not tolerate this behaviour of character in our towns and villages.”

He said that “levels of violence on our streets had increased”, and the “types of violence have worsened to achieve levels of depravity seldom witnessed 30 years ago”.

The court heard Ned Delaney had used a sign from outside an off-licence to strike Frank Spillane (53) across the back of the head, while Francis Butler (60) was struck on the head with an ice cream sign by Dan Delaney.

John Cleary (68) was struck in the face by Ned Delaney as he smoked a cigarette outside a pub, and suffered a fractured jaw.

All four pleaded guilty to one count of violent disorder and to various counts of assault.

Ned Delaney – whom Judge Teehan called a “ringleader” – received 14 years for four counts of assault, to run concurrently with the 10 years for violent disorder. Judge Teehan suspended the final four years.

Dan Delaney received 12 years for four assault charges, also to run concurrently with the 10-year sentence for violent disorder, with the last three years suspended.

John Paul Delaney (18), of Abbey Street, Cahir, was jailed for five years for his involvement in the attacks, while Patrick O’Keeffe (19), St Ailbe’s Drive, Tipperary, was jailed for three years.

Judge Teehan said he took into account the fact the men had pleaded guilty to the charges, but said it was “extremely important that a message goes out that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated in our society”. He refused an application for leave to appeal on grounds of severity of sentencing.