Man (34) charged after spitting at gardaí in Cork

‘I hope ye all get Corona’: Gardaí had to put face mask on intoxicated man who resisted arrest

A 34-year-old man has been remanded in custody after gardaí alleged they had to put a face mask on him to stop him spitting at them as he told them he hoped they got Coronavirus.

Richard Horgan with an address at Radharc na Fuinseoga, Mallow, Co Cork was brought before Midleton District Court sitting in Mallow on Friday where he was charged with two separate public order offences arising out of the incident.

Mr Horgan was charged with assaulting Garda Benjamin McNamara in the course of executing his duty at Radharc Na Fuinseoga, Mallow, contrary to Section 19 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994.

He was also charged with unlawfully obstructing Garda McNamara and Garda Conor O’Halloran in the course of executing their duty.


Insp Tony Sullivan said gardaí were objecting to bail.

The incident arose after gardaí were called to attend at Mr Horgan’s home in Mallow at 8am on Thursday.

Garda McNamara said Mr Horgan was intoxicated when they arrived at the house and became aggressive when gardaí tried to arrest him.

He said Mr Horgan spat at himself and three other gardaí and then shouted at them “I hope ye all get Corona”.

Gardaí had to put a mask on him to stop him spitting at them, Garda McNamara said.

He believed that due to Mr Horgan’s behaviour, there was a risk of him spreading the Covid -19 virus as he showed little regard for gardaí or others in the house by his actions in the course of his arrest.

Questioned by Mr Horgan's solicitor, Cathal Lombard, in support of his client's bail application, Garda McNamara agreed that Mr Horgan never alleged to gardaí that he had the virus when expressing the hope they would catch it.

Garda McNamara said there was a strongly likelihood of the DPP directing further charges against Mr Horgan, specifically in relation to new legislation introduced to deal with Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown.

Mr Horgan took the witness box and denied he had assaulted gardaí or that he spat at them.

“That’s a lie - there is no way I spat at the guards, my mother brought me up better than that,” he said.

Cross-examined by Insp Sulllivan, Mr Horgan agreed that he may have mentioned coronavirus before conceding that he had no memory of spitting at the four gardaí or saying he wished that they got Coronavirus.

He said he used to be addicted to drugs but was now addicted only to alcohol and had been off drink for the past six months but was unable to attend AA meetings because of Covid-19 and had relapsed on the occasion in question.

He said he was willing to abide by any bail conditions including signing on daily at Mallow Garda Station and abstaining from alcohol and seeking whatever treatment was currently available for his addiction.

Judge Patricia Harney said that it appeared to her that Mr Horgan was still under the influence of alcohol as his speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet when entering the witness box.

She said she had concerns that he would not be able to abstain from alcohol and given the country was in the middle of a Covid-19 pandemic, she said she was refusing bail and remanded him in custody to appear again on April 22nd.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times