A DONEGAL man has been sentenced to nine months in prison after appearing in court for a raft of offences dating back to 2017.

Tristan McAteer was brought to Letterkenny District Court from Castlerea Prison, where he is serving a sentence for other offences.

On December 8, 2017, Gardaí took a statement from an uncle of McAteer who alleged that he had been assaulted at his home.

The injured party alleged that he had been struck over the head with a hurley. A physical altercation ensued. McAteer regained access to the house and attempted to attack the man with an eight-inch bread knife.

In the early hours of November 13, 2018, Gardaí were called to a disturbance at the Blue Cedars, Ballybofey.

On arrival, Gardaí observed McAteer, who was accompanied by another male, on the footpath.  McAteer was heavily intoxicated and was staggering, with his clothes covered in vomit. McAteer had been highly agitated and aggressive and was arrested. A fixed charge penalty notice was issued, but went unpaid.

On June 19, 2020, Gardaí went to the scene of a reported disturbance at Sallaghraine, Letterkenny. McAteer, who was stumbling onto the road into the path of oncoming traffic, became highly abusive, telling Gardai to ‘fuck off’.

On June 24, 2020, Gardaí responded to a report of criminal damage to a window at Lower Main Street, Letterkenny.  Gardaí located McAteer outside a nearby takeaway. Again he became abusive to officers and was arrested.

McAteer was witnessed attempting to break into two cars at Glenveagh Court on June 29, 2020 at 10.45pm. Another assailant made away from the scene. When Gardaí arrived, McAteer became aggressive and attempted to run away. Gardaí had to deploy pepper spray.

On August 16, 2020 at 3.15am, McAteer was abusive to Gardaí when they arrived to a disturbance at Sallaghraine.

Later on the same date, McAteer was found to be highly intoxicated and admitted to being under the influence of drugs when Gardai arrived to Letterkenny Bus Station.

A report of a male ‘shouting and kicking doors and walls’ was received by Gardaí. McAteer was ‘unable to walk without falling’, Sergeant Jim Collins outlined. The accused told officers that he would ‘smash all the fucking windows in the town tonight’.

McAteer’s solicitor, Mr Frank Dorrian, said that his client faced a ‘gloomy picture.’

“Trips to court will be relentless unless he gets insight,” Mr Dorrian said.

“He takes unprescribed Xanax and also alcohol. The figure we meet at night is entirely different.

“This is all unfocussed, unplanned and, ultimately, doomed to fail.”

Mr Dorrian said McAteer had engaged in what he described as ‘self-mutilation’. “He has been tattooing his body since he was eight years old,” Mr Dorrian said. “It is hardly an elective process and it is of concern when that can happen.”

He said a lot of the incidents were ‘un-recalled’ by McAteer.

Regarding the incident with the knife, Mr Dorrian noted that McAteer was homeless at the time.

He said: “The knife was being carried as he felt under threat and was sleeping rough. It wasn’t as if he went and procured it.”

McAteer is undergoing counselling at Castlerea, something Mr Dorrian said has ‘brought insight’.

For the attack with the hurley, McAteer was sentenced to three months in prison.  McAteer was handed one-month prison terms for the attempted break-ins to the two cars. These sentences are to run concurrently.

Two two-month prison terms, to run concurrent to each other and consecutive to the other penalties, were imposed for the incidents on August 16, 2020.

For the incident at Sallaghrain on June 19, McAteer was fined €200 with the other charges marked into consideration.


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