Three sentenced after assault of former Clare star

AN ENNIS man who admits striking a former Clare hurler in the side of the head with a pint glass walked free from court last week after his case was adjourned for a year.

Alan Markham suffered serious head wounds when he and a friend were the victims of a violent attack in Ennis on the night of December 21, 2013.

Mr Markham was socialising with friends when he was struck in the head from behind with a glass by Jordan Whelan (19) as he walked in the Abbey Street car-park.

Mr Markham, a Munster title winner with Clare, and a friend Sean Hogan chased three teenagers to the grounds of the Coláiste Muire secondary school.

Mr Markham was struck a number of times in the head and legs with a stick before being knocked to the ground.

Mr Markham was knocked to the ground where he was repeatedly kicked

“I just lay on the ground and covered my head”, he later told gardaí.

Three friends who had been drinking in Ennis on the night pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the robberies against Mr Markham and Mr Hogan.

Shane McCarthy (19), with an address at Shalee Drive, Ennis and Jordan Whelan (19), with an address at Dun na hInse, Ennis, admitted robbery of money from Alan Markham at the Coláiste Muire, Ennis on December 21.

Evan Toomey (18), with an address at Oak Park, Ennis, pleaded guilty to the robbery of € 100 from Sean Hogan, also at Colásite Muire, Ennis on December 21.

Mr Toomey and Mr Whelan both appeared before Ennis Circuit Crim- inal Court on Friday for sentencing.

Judge Gerald Keys said aggravating factors in the case were the fact that the robberies were “a joint enterprise, violence was used”.

He said mitigating factors in the case were the accused’s cooperation with gardaí and early admissions which saved the exchequer the cost of a trial.

The Judge said all three men had also expressed regret for their actions.

In respect of Jordan Whelan, Judge Keys noted his previous good record and his positive engagement with the Probation Services. Adjourning the case for a year, Judge Keys told Mr Whelan that if he stepped out of line again over the next 12 months he would send him to prison.

“That I promise you, I will do”, added the Judge.

Judge Keys continued, “I hold the view that when one gets into trouble for the f rst time, one should be given an opportunity. I am now giving you that opportunity.”

He said, “If you step out of line, I am telling you, you will go to jail.”

In respect of Evan Toomey, Judge Keys noted his bad record and the fact that he had committed further offences the commission of the offence on December 21, 2013. He imposed a two year sentence.

Mr Toomey also received an 18 month concurrent sentence for a theft related offence committed in Ennis on January 12, 2104.

He received a further two year consecutive sentence for theft and robbery offences committed in Ennis on March 2, 2014 while on bail.

Judge Keys said members of the public must feel safe walking the streets of Ennis, day or night, without fear of being “mugged or robbed”. Sentencing of Shane McCarthy was adjourned to a later date.


Spate of rural burglaries in Clare last week

GARDAÍ believe a black Subaru car was involved in an eight-hour burglary spree against properties in rural parts of Clare last week.

Five properties in north and west Clare were broken into on Wednesday and gardaí believe that the same gang is responsible for the offences.

“All of the following burglaries were committed on the same date and we believe involved the same culprits who were using a black Subaru hatchback with three males on board”, a garda spokesman said.

A house at Drumnagrown, Ennistymon was the targeted when thieves forced their way in through a rear door between 8.25am and 2.30pm.

Rooms in the house were ransacked and a gold ring, engagement ring, six pairs of gold earrings, an iPod touch, a pair of men’s shoes and a pir of blue sport shoes were stolen.

The gang gained access to the Grove, Main Street, Kildysart between 8.50am and 5.05pm. The rear window was forced open, rooms were ransacked and a sum of money was stolen. Another burglary occurred between 9am and 3pm at Shandrum, Mullagh when a sum of money was stolen.

Between 10am and 2pm the rear door of a property at Dereen Car- ragh, Fanore was forced open. The rooms were ransacked and a sum of money in euros and sterling was stolen.

A property at Furoor, Kilkee was also ransacked when it was broken into between 1.40pm and 5.10pm but nothing was stolen on this occasion. MEANWHILE gardaí are hunting a gang who carried out an armed at a business in Shannon last week.

The XL stores shop in Drumgeely was the target of the robbery that took place on Wednesday, November 19. Two masked men were involved in the incident, which occurred around 9pm. One waited outside and the other entered the shop brandishing a knife demanding money. He is described a wearing a white mask with blue red and pink colours in it, a grey hoody black tracksuit pants, brown boots and grey socks.

He was about 5’8” in height and very thin. The other person is not described. They came from the direction of Fergus Road dual carriage way and left in the same direction empty handed.

A silver van, possibly a ford transit with three males in it, was seen acting suspiciously in the Drumgeely area before the robbery. Gardaí in Shannon are appealing for information


Council still own majority of water infrastructure throughout the county

CLARE councillors will attempt to block the transfer of the county’s water infrastructure to Irish Water. This news comes in the wake of the revelation that Clare County Council, and not Irish Water, are still the legal owners of the vast majority of the county’s multi-million euro water infrastructure.

Shannon Cllr Gerry Flynn (IND), who proposed a motion to abolish Irish Water at this months meeting of the local authority, says he will investigate ways to prevent the transfer of the water assets, and may bring forward a new motion at next months meeting of Clare County Council.

The revelation came to light following a motion about the Castlecrine Reservoir discussed at the November meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District.

“This is a big revelation and the transfer of assets to Irish Water is something that we were particularly interested in.

“I will be investigating the situation and if there is something that could be done about this transfer I will bring it forward,” said Cllr Flynn.

The council’s ownership of the wa- ter infrastructure came to light following a motion put forward by Cllr Alan O’Callaghan about the status of the approach road to the Sixmilebridge reservoir.

Responding to questions, a council spokesperson conf rmed that the Castlecrine reservoir was still legally the property of Clare County Council – before going on to conf rm that all the major water infrastructure in Clare is still owned by the local authority.

Speaking on the motion, Cllr Pat Hayes (FF) said he was “astonished” that Clare County Council still owned the water infrastructure.

“I’m kind of astonished to be honest, to learn that the handover [to Irish Water] will happen in the future. Over € 1m is being spent down in Killaloe. Have Irish Water been given control of certain reservoirs but not others? There is a lot of money being spent.

“How can Irish Water be spending money is areas that they don’t own? Who is spending the money?” he said.

The council spokesperson conf rmed that money currently being spent on water and sewage projects is being spent by Clare County Council, on behalf of Irish Water.


‘Farmers will shoot dogs on sight’

PET OWNERS in North Clare have been warned to lock up their dogs, with local farmers threatening to shoot trespassing animals on sight.

This warning comes in the wake of a series of vicious attacks on farm animals in the Tubber area which has left a number of sheep and cattle dead or injured.

Clare dog warden, Frankie Coote, has warned pet owners in the Tubber and Boston areas to keep their ani- mals under control, with a number of farmers in the area coming together to protect their livestock.

“There has been a series of attacks on livestock in the Tubber area, the area has become a blackspot for dog attacks.

“The attacks are mostly on sheep, but the dogs will attack cows and horses as well.

“If the dogs bite a cow on its udder, it can bleed to death, and it’s very painful for the animal,” said Mr Coote.

“Two or three farmers have come together in the Tubber area and they will shoot animals who come onto their land.

“Normally, farmers cannot shoot dogs on their property unless they are actually attacking their animals at the time – but, if there is a history of dog attacks in an area they are legally entitled to do this.

“We would urge pet owners in the Tubber area to keep their animals under control.”

Meanwhile, farmers and pet owners in the Fountain on the outskirts of Ennis have been warned to be vig- ilant following a savage attack on a herd of sheep in the area last week. The attack saw three sheep being killed while a further three had to be put down afterwards.

According to Mr Coote, pet owners need to be extra vigilant, especially in certain weather conditions which can make make dogs act out of character.

“In my experience, the weather can be an issue and dogs are more likely to attack after a strong wind. Full moons also seem to be an issue for a lot of dogs,” he said.


Man guilty of child porn possession

A FORMER factory worker who pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography at his home in Ennis has avoided an immediate prison sentence.

The 49-year-old father of one pleaded guilty in March to possession of f ve images and 43 movies of child


New bishop to decide on women deacons

WOMEN deacons will not be introduced this year, and cannot be introduced until a new Bishop of Killaloe is ordained.

The outgoing bishop – Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly SMA- had suspended the introduction of any deacons to the diocese following a public objection by parishioners and some priests to a men only advertisement for the role.

At the weekend the local Catholic bishop was announced as the successor to Archbishop of Cashel and Emly Dermot Clifford, and will continue in an administrative type role only in Killaloe during the coming months until he off cially takes over his new post in Thurles.

An administrator will then take over the running of the diocese of Killaloe until a new bishop is ordained. Communications Off cer with the diocese Fr Brendan Quinlivan said that the process is all clearly set out in Cannon Law.

“Any internal work that has already started will continue, but the administrator does not make any innovations that would be binding on the incoming bishop,” he said.

Archbishop O’Reilly is expected to be installed as Archbishop of Cashel and Emly in February.

Newly appointed Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly said he f rst heard of his appointment to the Dioscese of Cashel and Emly on Monday last week when the Papal Nuncio asked to meet with him.

“The moment the nuncio asked me it knocked me for six. It is not something you expect to happen. It is a bit like something has been taken away from you, something you had become very assured with and that you were working with and it takes a bit of getting use to,” he said.

The outgoing Bishop of Killaloe said that the next few weeks will be about letting go as he takes up an administer role in the diocese until his installation.

Adding that he was looking forward to serving the people of his new dioceses he said there is much he will miss about his f rst ever diocese. “In that time I have been privileged to work and serve with a deeply committed group of priests and people. I have encountered so many people with a great love for Jesus Christ and commitment for the life of the Church.

“I will always treasure the personal friendships I have made and give thanks to God for the support I have received here in the Diocese of Killaloe.

“I pledge to keep all of you in my prayers and gently request that you might do the same for me as I take up this new appointment,” he said.

The Cork native was ordained Bishop of Killaloe in August 2010 following the retirment of Bishop Willie Walsh.

Born in Cork city on August 8, 1952 he was the eldest of f ve children born to Seán and Theresa O’Reilly.

He was educated at the Presentation Brothers, Scoil Chríost Rí, Turner’s Cross and Coláiste Chríost Rí, Cork before joining the Society of African Missions in Wilton, Cork in 1970.

Bishop O’Reilly received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from St Patrick’s College, Maynooth in 1974 followed by a Bachelor of Divinity in 1977 and a Diploma in Mission Studies in 1978.

He was appointed Vicar General of the Society of African Missions from 1995 to 2001 and elected as the 11th Superior General of the Society of African Missions from 2001 to 2007.

He was re-elected to that position in 2007, before being appointed bishop elect by Pope Benedict XVI on May 2010. Meanwhile the search to f ll the vacancy in Killaole will now begin. Filling the role could take months or even years, as was the case in Limerick.

There are currently four diocese without bishops.

The Papal Nuncio will begin the search for possible contenders to f ll the top job in Killaloe, by contacting parish groups, schools and other interested bodies. He will then send a list of the most qualif ed, which could include some names he suggests to the Congregation of Bishops in Rome. The bishops will propose three names to the pope with a preferred candidate indicated, and Pope Francis will make the f nal decision, with an option of appointing someone not recommended by the bishops. Three names expected to be among the nominees are the three priests nominated over four years ago when Bishop O’Reilly was appointed – Fr Tom Hogan, Fr Des Hillery, and Fr Albert McDonnell. However an informed punt would back an outsider, as all bishops appointed in the last number of years have been appointed from outside their own diocese. Then, Bishop O’Reilly was the f rst priest from outside the diocese to f ll the position in over 200 years.


‘Air rage incident is described as psychotic episode’

A LIMERICK man who suffered a psychotic episode aboard an Aer Lingus f ight that was diverted to Shannon has had the charge struck out against him. No criminal conviction will be recorded against Blaine Lenihan (22).

Mr Lenihan, with an address at Puckane, Murroe, Limerick plead ed guilty in October to engaging in behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace on an Aer Lin gus f ight on June 8, 2014, contrary to the Air Transport and Navigation Act.

Blaine Lenihan (22), had to be re strained after becoming abusive to cabin crew and his brother during the f ight on June 8.

Inspector Tom Kennedy told the court gardaí in Shannon received a report that a passenger had to be restrained during a f ight from New York.

The court heard staff were forced to intervene after Mr Lenihan became “uncooperative” and “abusive”.

Despite efforts of cabin and crew to restrain the accused, the f ight, which was carrying 173 passengers, was forced to divert to Shannon at 5.45am.

Mr Lenihan has no previous con victions.

Defence solicitor John Casey said his client travelled to American to meet friends staying there on J1 vi sas.

“He took some form of drug and that led to a psychotic episode”, Mr Casey explained.

He told the court Mr Lenihan’s be haviour in America became totally irrational.

The court heard Mr Lenihan was arrested and spent three days in county jail. Mr Casey his client’s family were seriously concerned for his well be ing.

He said Mr Lenihan’s brother f ew to America to bring him home for treatment.

The court heard when Mr Lenihan returned to Ireland he was detained under the mental health act for six weeks.

Judge Patrick Durcan asked the ac cused to write a letter of apology to the captain and crew.

He said if Mr Lenihan also paid a sum of € 500 to the court box, he would consider dealing with the case in a manner that wouldn’t affect the accused’s good record.

Mr Lenihan was remanded on bail to appear again at Ennis District Court on November 19.

On Wednesday, Mr Casey told the court his client had written the let ters of apology and had the € 500 with him in court.

Judge Durcan said, “I strike it out on that basis”.


Baref eld man found guilty of threatening to kill neighbour

A MOTHER of two felt like a “prisoner” in her own home because of years of harassment from her neighbour in Baref eld, a court heard. Patrizia Crowley was giving evidence on the fourth day of the trial of married couple Ann (64) and Martin (67) McLoughlin, at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court.

Recalling an alleged encounter with Ann McLoughlin at the Crow ley’s home at Creggard Baref eld on Febraury 14, 2012, Ms Crowley told the jury, “I got an awful pain in my chest and my legs were like jelly”, following something allegedly said by Ms McLoughlin, which she de nies saying.

Asked by Counsel for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Ste phen Coughlan, how all of this made her feel, Ms Crowley said she was “constantly terrif ed”. “I feel like a prisoner in my own home”.

Ann McLoughlin, with an address at Ballymaconna, Baref eld, was ac quitted by a jury last week of harass ing Raymond Crowley and Patrizia Crowley at their home in Baref eld on dates unknown between October, 2006 and March, 2012.

Ms Crowley outlined to the jury a number of encounters she had with Martin McLoughlin between 2004 and 2012.

Ms Crowley told the court she and her husband decided to move to Bar ef eld to be close to her father follow ing the death of her mother.

Ms Crowley said she f rst met Martin McLoughlin when she and her husband visited the site in Creg gard in 2004. She told the jury Mr McLoughlin told the couple not to buy the site because it was a bad site.

In October 2006, Ms Crowley said a black pipe was broken when a dig ger opened an entrance to the site. She said Martin McLoughlin came over and started “ranting and rav ing”, telling her husband that was strike one and he would be sorry. “I had my three and a half year-old son with me. I felt very uncomforta ble, intimidated”, she said. Ms Crowley recalled an encoun ter on March 19, 2010 when Mr McLoughlin threatened to kill her husband. She told the jury she was sitting in a car with her children about three feet away when Mr McLoughlin told Ray Crowley, “I will get my lads to beat the s*** out of you and bury you in the wall”. Ms Crowley told Mr Coughlan that after seeking legal advice, the couple decided to install CCTV and log all encounters with the McLoughlins in a diary. Ms Crowley said she thought Mr McLoughlin was going to drive his tractor into her car as she exited the area in June 2011.

She said she was in her car at the narrowest point on a rural road when Mr McLoughlin’s tractor came to wards her. “He sat in his tractor laughing at me”, she said.

“My legs were shaking. I had an awful pain in my chest. I could hard ly breathe”, she added.

In July 2011, Ms Crowley said she was at home with her two children when she saw Mr McLoughlin wear ing a baseball cap and a scarf around his face, walking near the boundary of the Crowley’s property.

“He was leaning in over the wall…I thought he was going to come in and kill us”, she recalled to the jury.

She gave evidence of other occa sions of being at home when her husband was at work and Mr McLough lin would be around the property staring in and making “groaning and grunting” noises. “I’m terrif ed for myself, my family and my kids”, she added. She said, “I won’t go outside the door and walk around the garden unless Raymond is with me. I am too terrif ed. If I have to go see my neighbours straight across the road, I will drive across the road.” Ms Crowley recalled how on Sep tember 13, 2011, she had just returned from the school run when she saw Mr McLoughlin coming down the road ahead of her. She said she pulled her car to the side of the road to let him pass. She said the accused put his f st up towards her as he passed. Asked what effect this had on her, Ms Crowley told the jury, “I had an awful pain in my chest. I could hadly breathe”. Ms Crowley continued, “I only moved to Baref eld for the quiet life and the peace and I never got it”. Martin McLoughlin, a retired of f cer with the Department of Agri culture with an address at Ballyma conna, Baref eld, was found guilty of harassing Raymond and Patrizia Crowley at Cregarrd Baref eld on dates unknown between October 20006 and March 2012. On Friday, the jury also found him guilty of threatening to kill Raymond Crowley at his home on March 19, 2010. He was acquitted of making another threat to kill Mr Crowley on September 24, 2011. However the jury found him guilty of causing criminal damage to trees and hedges belonging to the Crow leys on September 24, 2011. Mr McLoughlin, a father of sev en, was remanded on bail to appear again in court on January 12, 2015.


Volunteers recognised for Burren preservation

A GROUP of Clare volunteers, who give up their time to insure the preservation and better management of the Burren, have been recognised for their efforts and branded Ocean Heroes by an Taisce.

Formed in 2011, the BurrenBeo Trust Conservation are a group of north Clare locals who gather throughout the year to tackle some of the natural and manmade obstacles to the survival of the Burren.

The volunteers, who are on offshoot of the Kinvara based BurrenBeo Trust, were crowned as the an Taisce’s Ocean Hero Newcomer of the Year, in an award ceremony in Dublin last week.

While the volunteers have mostly focussed on inland activity in recent years, they received the award for their great efforts to return the Burren coastline to right following this January and February’s unprecedented storms.

“The spring storms hit the Burren coastline hard this year resulting in vast amounts of debris being carried far inland,” said a spokesperson from the volunteers.

“With a lot of hard labour and the support of Clean Coasts we have made a huge difference, leaving a large section of the Burren coastline visibly cleaner.

“We would like to thank all our volunteers for taking part in this project and the Clean Coasts team for all their support and advice.”

The volunteers work on a range of activities aimed at preserving the natural beauty and sustainability of the Burren.

Their work primarily involves the removal of scrub, which is taking over many areas of the Burren and threatens the sustainability of the Burren’s famous limestone pavement.


Mix-up over over alleged theft of ladies underwear

A KILRUSH man accused of stealing ladies underwear has said the charge is all a “mix-up”.

Jonathan Kenny (30), with an address at Elm Drive, Kilrush is charged with stealing female underwear from Penny’s Shop, Francis Street, Ennis on November 3, 2014.

Mr Kenny appeared before Ennis District Court on Wednesday.

Inspector John O’Sullivan handed in a schedule of the arrest, charge and caution of the accused.

Insp O’Sullivan told Judge Patrick Durcan the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had directed the matter suitable for disposal in the district court.

Defence solicitor John Casey said his client could be put on his election in respect of the charge.

Judge Durcan put the charge to Mr Kenny and asked him if he wanted to have the case heard in the district court or before a Judge and jury in the circuit court.

Mr Kenny elected to have his case heard in the district court.

After reading out details of the charge in the busy courtroom, Judge Durcan put it to Mr Kenny, who was standing near the dock, that he seemed “amused” by the matter.

“I noticed when I read the charge to you, a grin spread from your right ear to your left”, the Judge said.

Mr Kenny replied that the alleged incident sounded different when it was read out.

“It was just a mix-up between me and my girlfriend”, he added.

Mr Casey said he required a short adjournment of the case.

Mr Kenny was remanded on bail to appear again at Ennis District Court on December 10, when he is due to indicate how he intends pleading to the charge.