TWO Co Derry brothers who launched a vicious attack on tourists at a Letterkenny hotel were jailed last night for their part in the assaults.

Ultan and Fergal McTague, originally from Aghadowey in Co Derry, were given 12 month prison terms when they faced two separate assault charges.

The last six months of each sentence was suspended.

Ultan McTague, a 27-year-old plumber’s assistant with an address in Portglenone, and Fergal McTague, a 32-year-old accountant with an address in Aghadowey, had been found guilty by a jury at their trial.

At their sentencing hearing yesterday evening in Letterkenny, the court once again heard that they had been on a stag night in the town.

Both men are married with children and neither was used to heavy drinking.

They had booked into Dillon’s Hotel for the night but when a door from a lift slammed shut, they left their room and accused two men from Monaghan of kicking their door.

Despite the protestations of the two men, the McTagues rained punches and kicks down on their victims, leaving them with serious injuries.

Judge John O’Hagan, who heard the trial case, said the McTagues had boxed and kicked their victims down the corridor.

Gardai who later attended the scene described blood splattered all over the walls.

A barrister for Fergal McTague said his client had a clear previous record who was “a fine upstanding member of his community.”

He said his actions on the night of the assault was completely out of character, blaming the culture of stag parties where young men who don’t normally drink go out to “allegedly enjoy themselves” by consuming quantities of alcohol they were not used to.

He said his client didn’t come to Letterkenny looking for trouble, but had found it through drink “and his own stupidity.”

A barrister for his brother Ultan spoke of a committed family man who also had a completely clear previous record and who was also not to use to drink.

He was a plasterer but had retrained as a plumber’s assistant to get work and flew  back and forward from England to support his family and children.

Judge O’Hagan recalled how the McTagues’ attack on the Monaghan men “started very quickly and was very agitated.”

One of the victims managed to make it back into his room; but his friend was battered relentlessly, suffering wounds to his and lips which required stitches, a broken nose, two black eyes and various other injuries.

The McTagues, said the judge, had carried out “an unprovoked and savage assault.”

He told the Co Derry men: “I must impose a custodial sentence in this case. I cannot allow this to go unpunished.”

He said however that he recognised that “an hour in prison for people like you will feel like months” – whereas to criminals who had been to jail before it didn’t.

Judge O’Hagan also recognised that the two accused men had answered all their bail conditions and attended every hearing despite living in the North of Ireland.

He imposed one year jail terms, suspending the last six months.

The McTagues’ wives sobbed as they were handcuffed and led away to serve their sentences.

Wiping away tears, Fergal McTague’s wife turned to the judge and said: “They are such good men. They really are.”

At hearing.




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