Diary, 18 April 1985 - Blind Justice, On the Record, No Joy(riders)

ON A QUIET WEDNESDAY afternoon before Easter in Dublin District Court No 1 in Morgan Place, Justice Peter Connellan was hearing a few routine cases - after hours drinking, driving without tax and insurance and such like.

After about forty minutes, everyone present stood as Justice Peter Connellan left the court. Reporters from the three Dublin papers asked the clerk of the court if the busiiness of the day was finished and were told that it was.

Solicitors, counsel and garrdai still congregated outside the courtroom and so the reporters also waited. After about twenty minutes, Justice, Connellan reappeared and beegan hearing a case against Justice Thomas Donnelly, forrmer President of the District Court and the District Court Justice who dealt with drink licence applications.

Sgt Liam Monaghan of Kevin Street Garda Station was stopped in his tracks be-' fore giving details of the charrges and Garret Sheehan, soliicitor for Justice Donnelly said that his client was pleadd.ing guilty and that he was specifically instructed not to enter any technical defence which might be open to him.

Justice Connellan was told that Justice Donnelly had no previous convictions. Justice Donnelly was fined £150, had his licence endorsed and was disqualified from driving for one year. Justice Donnelly did not appear in court.

The whole hearing lasted less than a minute. Justice Donnelly's last appearance in Court No 1 was on February 25 on the occasion of his retirement, when solicitors, barristers and gardai asssembled to wish him well in his retirement.

Reporters present at the hearing of April 3 asked to see the charge sheet as Justice Peter Connellan and the court clerk were leaving. They were told that it was impossible as the charge sheets were gone, The charge sheets are generallly made available to reporters to assist them in presenting an accurate account of the charges.

Justice Donnelly was connvicted under Section 45 of the Road Traffic Act at Christchurch, Dublin, on July 7 1984. The offence involves being in charge of a motor vehicle with excess alcohol in the blood. But, as already stated, no further details came before the public at the very brief hearing in Court No 1 on April 3 last.

Jack Hanna


On the record

A selection of contributions to recent Dail debates

"NO CLAREMAN WORTH his salt would ever agree to a Commission proposal that 3,000 acres of our county be annexed by Limerick Corporation." Deputy Donal Carey, Fine Gael, during the debate on Bill redrawing local government boundaries.

"On the day the report of the Commission, or whatever it was, came out, I heard a former Fianna Fail Minister saying in indignation to someebody else: 'Do you know that 1 ,500 people are being taken out of the town of Oughterard and moved into Connemara?' It was almost as though you could hear the roar of the engines of the Wehrmacht lorries as unfortunate people were loaded up over the taillgates with many a hearty prod from a field grey uniiform and a rifle." Deputy John Kelly, Fine Gael, on the Bill redrawing local governnment boundaries.

"These great gangling pyylons seem to march across the countryside like an invading army of Martians. They are marching in a dead straight line from Moneypoint to Dublin, up hill, down dale, across valleys and through woodlands without any regard whatever to their visual impact on the countryside." Opposition Leader, Charles Haughey, on the bringing of electricity from Moneypoint to the east coast.

"To get back to Mahaffy's definition of this country, it must be the biggest lunatic .....,asylum in the world." - Deputy Frank Prendergast, Labour, on the state takeover of ICI.

"Our people have not experienced incidents of this nature since the time of Cromwell." - Deputy Liam Hyland, Fianna Fail, in motion on Crime and Lawlessness.

" ... we must make prison less palatable for the inmates. There is no point in having something of a holiday camp atmosphere and making cerrtain facilities available to priisoners. Those who are sent to prison more than once should be treated in a way that will leave them not ever wishing to go there again. While addhering to the fundamental rights of prisoners, there is no point in prison being a place they have no objection returnning to. There has been too much pussyfooting, too much of the softly, softly attitude for too long." - Deputy L.T. Cosgrave, Motion on Crime and Lawlessness.

Olivia 0 'Leary

No Joy(riders)?

A HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL inner-city community -based project which trains local teenagers to build and race stock cars has run out of money and is desperately trying to secure alternative state funding. The Departtment of Labour provided them with a grant of over £10,000 at the beginning of January but all of that has gone on the salaries of the six youths and their superrvisor Ronan Ashe, a trained mechanic.

Vincent Bolton, who set up the scheme, is currently negotiating with the Youth Employment Agency, who are interested in providing more long-term funding but, he says, "If we don't get some funding within the next week we just won't be able to survive. At present the whole scheme is at a halt and the lads are coming over every morning to see if we're doing anything. But we've no money .at all left, and our power was even cut off the other day."

Bolton set up the scheme two years ago in an effort to provide something positive for the kids to do within the community. All of the kids involved in the scheme have had brushes with the law. Some have been active joyyriders in the past and Bolton is convinced that this type

of community' project can keep the kids on the right side of the law. "The kids sign a contract with us when they take up the scheme that they'll stay out of trouble and won't cause any hassle. But this type of work is very attractive to them. If the resources were made availlable they'd stay working in the garage twenty-four hours a day. They love it.

"The crazy thing I feel is that we allow the situation to get to the stage where we can call these young kids 'thugs' and can pack them off to jail. They can't say the resources aren't available. Millions of pounds are availlable for emergency schemes like Spike Island or the new prison they're building in Clondalkin. We've learnt noothing from the Loughan House lesson; Spike Island won't stop these kids getting innvolved in crime but these kind of community based projects can."

At present Bolton is spendding his days trying to talk the YEA into coming up with some cash immediately. "The state agencies don't seem to be flexible enough to deal with community projects like' ours. I know they're interessted in helping us but we urrgently need the money now. In a month's time it will be too late. The kids will be losing interest and the whole scheme will go under."

Helen Shaw


Beyond the Pale - 18 April 1985

John Waters reviews the Irish Provincial Press

A RECENT MEETING OF Kildare County Council was "never unruly, but loud with tempers frayed," according to the Leinster Leader. Under consideration was a draft plan for the re-zoning of land in' the county, and this had been objected to by Councillor Emmet Stagg who felt that, if implemented, the plan would "destroy the rural character" of the village of Straffan and turn it into "another Leixlip, Celbridge and Maynooth."

Councillor Stagg said that he foresaw development in Straffan as "a massive, stupid conurbation", and alleged that members of the council had "bowed to pressure" on the matter. Councillor Sean Reilly said that if this latter reemark was addressed to him he refuted it and was calling for its withdrawal. He could not see how pressure could be exerted except with money, and he had never been offered, any and would not have taken it if he had.

Councillor Michael McWey said that the allegation was the most serious one he had ever heard at a Council meetting, since it "impugned the integrity" of the members. The Leader informs us that at this point in the discusssion there were "mutterings behind Councillor Stagg", who then said that it never ceased to amaze him how "various chairmen" could sit listening while a Councillor was being "abused in persoonal terms." Two members of the Council had just threaatened to break his mouth, said Councillor Stagg. Counncillor Michael Nolan interjeccted to say that he wanted to "deny here and now" that he had ever threatened to break Councillor Stagg's "so-and-so mouth". "If I had," said Councillor Nolan,' "I would have carried it through!"

An amendment in relation to the draft plan, put down by Councillor Stagg, was deefeated.

Over in Loughrea, the recent Today Tonight invesstigations into psychiatric hosspitals were the subject of a discussion at the mon thly meeting of the Western Health Board, according to a report in the Roscommon Champion. The issue was raised by Tommy Dolan, of St Patrick's Hospital Castleerea, who said that employees in the psychiatric services had been disturbed by the proogramme's revelations and also disappointed by the failure of Health Minister, Barry Dessmond, to appear and respond to the questions raised. Health Board CEO Mr Eamon Hannan replied that members "should not worry about such proogrammes" as they were mereely an attempt by RTE to "create sensationalism and to create worry in parents." The action of one of the R TE staff in the programme was "beneath contempt", said Mr Hannan.

Fianna Fail Councillor John Costelloe, of Roscommmon County Council, said that, as a member of the psychiatric services himself, he knew that his colleagues held "no gra" for "that proogramme". However, he did feel that the Minister should have been there "to answer the people." Mr Hannan said that he was sure the Minister would have appeared "if he had time." He himself had received many invitations to appear on such programmes but had refused on the grounds that "such appearrances would not be for the benefit of the Board."

Liam Naughton TD chimed in to say that it would be "a sad day" if any Irish Minister had to be "at the whim of RTE for any programme."

RTE is in trouble down Leitrim way as well, accorrding to a report headlined "Drumkeerin Youths 'Robbbed' By RTE Foul-Up" in the Leitrim Observer. The story concerns the recent appearrance by Drumkeerin Youth Club in the semi-finals of the quiz programme "Top Club", on RTE I Television, in which they were pitted against another youth club from Wicklow. At the end of the encounter, which the Obserrver informs us was "neckkand-neck all the way through", the Wicklow side was addjudged by the RTE scoreekeeper to have won by 60 points to 54. But a Drummkeerin schoolteacher who had videotaped the programme calculated that the Leitrim side had actually scored 59 points, to Wicklow's 58, and when this evidence was placed before "Top Club" producer Joe McDonnell, he admitted, after much deliberation, that, yes, Drumkeerin should in fact have won. However, he said, as the final of the commpetition had by this time been recorded, there was noothing they could now do to 'rectify the situation. So it goes ....

Staying in the world of entertainment, I note from The People that Castleblaneyybased impressario Tony Loughman, manager of, among others, Butch Moore And The Capitol, has been in the wars down the south-east direction. Loughman Was up before Wexford District Court on charges of assaulting Edward O'Connor, owner of the local Unyoke Inn, in the course of a dispute over the payment of the fee of £3,000, following an appearance by the reformed Capitol at the Unyoke last November.

The row started when o 'Connor took Loughman to task over the fact that the band had the previous Friday night played iri a dance-hall in Bunclody , despite Lough-. man's assurances that the Unn,yoke wouid be their only appearance in the south-east. O'Connor claimed that Loughhman's response was to grab him by the tie and hit him. At this point, O'Connor said; the band-leader Paddy Cole arrived, and while he (O'Connnor) , was. talking to Cole, Loughman ran at him again and hit him "an open box in the mouth ," Loughman, in evidence, said that 0 'Connor had been "very much tinder the innfluence" and had in fact assaulted him, causing him to requite stitches in his eye .

O'Connor, he said, had also jumped on him and kicked him while he was on the ground. When the taw arrived, in the shape of Sergeant Molloy from Blackwater" Loughman formed the opinion that the Sergeant, too, was "very much under the weather." Sergeant Mollloy became abusive towards Paddy Cole, Tony Loughman said, and told him he was "only a tramp."

Justice Magee convicted Loughman of assault; saying that he was satisfied that Loughman had precipitated the offence. The People, howwever, fails to tell us what sentence, if any, was meted out.