Jail for 11 Travellers after feud sentence appeals withdrawn


ELEVEN MEN were taken to waiting prison vans at the Circuit Criminal Court in Tralee and ferried to two different prisons to begin jail terms of between six and 16 months after they withdrew appeals against sentences handed down last month for offences arising from an ongoing Traveller feud in Co Kerry.

Committal warrants were issued for three others who failed to appear but who were also withdrawing their appeals, solicitors told Judge Carroll Moran.

The appeals lodged were against the severity of sentence. A special sitting of the Circuit Court had been scheduled in Tralee to deal with them. The 14 had been convicted of a range of offences at a special sitting on November 13th including possession of weapons, assault, affray, criminal damage, rear-ending of vehicles and public order offences on a number of dates this year in Tralee.

All had been released on bail since lodging their appeals. Gardaí manned checkpoints outside the court and set up search rooms at the entrance to the court precincts. Barrister Brian McInerney, representing several of the appellants, asked Judge Moran that a number of named men be accommodated in different prisons, saying there was “a reason” for the request.

Judge Moran said he had no power to grant the request, but recommended it be complied with.

Michael Quilligan, Martin Quilligan, Chris Fitzgerald, Denis Fitzgerald, John Casey and Jimmy Quilligan are to be held in Portlaoise Prison, while Christopher Quilligan is to serve his sentence in Cork Prison. All had pleaded guilty to charges related to violence between the Quilligan and Coffey clans who are supported by other Traveller families in the Tralee and Castleisland areas.

The following withdrew their appeals: Michael Quilligan (30), Mitchels Road, Tralee; Martin Quilligan (25), Mitchels Road; Christopher Fitzgerald (19), Lee Drive, Ballinorig, Tralee; Denis Fitzgerald (23), Lee Drive, Ballinorig, Tralee; Tony Quilligan (22), Cahereens West, Castleisland; Jimmy Quilligan (24), Mitchels Road, Tralee; John Casey (26), Clonmore Road, Mitchels Crescent, Tralee; Michael McCarthy (32), Avondale, Carlow town; Richard McCarthy (21), St Martin’s Park, Tralee; Francis O’Brien (20), Hollywood Estate, Cork; Michael O’Brien (35), St Martin’s Park, Tralee; Christopher Quilligan (26), Mitchels Crescent; Tony Coffey (21), Cahereens West, Castleisland; and Patrick McCarthy (29), Fountain Court, Tralee.