Double trouble! Twins given community service after glass attack in pub

July 15, 2020

A set of twins both glassed a man in a bar during an unprovoked attack after they had been drinking all day after attending a confirmation.

Bernadette and Edel Dowd, both 25, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal having pleaded guilty to the horrific attack.

Both women, who are originally from Tallaght in Dublin, had been out drinking in Ballybofey after a Confirmation celebration on May 26th, 2017.

Shortly after midnight on May 7th, a row broke out at Cheers Bar on Main Street in Ballybofey.

Innocent bystander, Christopher Gallagher, who was out socialising with his mother and father, was sitting opposite the sisters.

He was initially struck with a glass on the forehead thrown by Edel Dowd causing him to bleed.

As he reached up to feel the blood coming down his face he was then struck with another glass thrown by Bernadette Dowd which struck him on the cheek.

He was taken to Letterkenny University Hospital where he received stitches in both wounds and was told that he would be left with a permanent scar on his cheek injury.

Both women were later interviewed by Gardai and admitted throwing the glasses which struck Mr Gallagher.

The court was told that both women were from Tallaght in Dublin and had moved to Ballybofey with their mother and other family members ten years ago when they were aged fifteen.

Both, with an address at Donegal Road, Ballybofey, had fallen in with bad company in recent years and had been drinking too much.

However, both took to the witness stand and said they were trying to turn their lives around, had not drunk alcohol in almost a year, were eating healthily and were going to the gym.

Barrister for Edel Dowd, Ms Fiona Crawford, said her client was easily led but that she was a very decent person when she did not have drink on her.

Edel Dowd told the court “I’m genuinely sorry to Mr Gallagher and all his family, I really didn’t mean it. It was the drink and that’s the main reason I’m off drink today.

“I shouldn’t have acted like that, it was shocking behaviour it really was. I still ashamed and really am embarrassed by the way I behaved and I always will be.”

Barrister for Bernadette Dowd, Mr Peter Nolan said his client and her sister had learned a lesson and that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and it could lead to incarceration.

Bernadette Dowd told the court “I’m sorry to Mr Gallagher and everyone in the pub. We had an early day drinking and celebrating a confirmation and it got out of hand.

“We’re keeping our heads down, going to the gym and we have turned ourselves around.”

Judge John Aylmer said that while both women have previous convictions, they are of a minor nature and this incident was uncharacteristic of them.

He said he put it in the mid-range of such offences and could result in a sentence of two years in prison before considering mitigating circumstances.

However, he said he would reduce this to 18 months considering their early guilty plea and genuine remorse.

He added that he wanted to encourage their rehabilitation and suggested a custodial sentence may be counter-productive in their cases.

Instead, he imposed 240 hours community service in lieu of 18 months in jail and put them under the supervision of the probation service for the 18 months.

He also ordered them to remain off alcohol and not to make contact with anybody with a criminal record apart from those within their family.