Gaoth Dobhair man who punched Garda is given second chance

March 3, 2021

A West Donegal man who has had “a long battle with alcohol” has appeared in court charged with punching a female Garda.

Ciaran Gillespie, of Arduns, Gaoth Dobhair appeared at Sligo District Court facing a number of charges.

The 33-year-old was caught “urinating on a Sligo street” and punching a ban garda while very drunk and resisting arrest.

He told Judge Kevin Kilrane “I know if I keep going, I will go to prison or be dead.

“The addiction had got to a certain level that I don’t how I act.”

Judge Kilrane said that Gillespie, who told the court he was alcohol free, could go back on the drink in times of crisis.

Gillespie pleaded guilty at an earlier sitting, to being drunk and a danger to himself and others, using threatening and abusive behaviour and resisting and obstructing garda Ciara Sheehan in the course of an arrest on December 3 2019 in Grattan Street, Sligo.

He also pleaded guilty to being drunk and a danger to himself and others at Grange Main Street on December 2 2019.

Defence solicitor Tom MacSharry told the court his client had a good report from Cuan Mhuire and had a “long battle with alcohol.”

Sergeant Derek Butler told the court the defendant was found urinating in open view of the public in Grattan Street and he was arrested for being drunk and a danger to himself and others.

He became aggressive and shouted at gardai and he punched Garda Sheehan on December 3 in Grattan Street,

The defendant was later charged.

On December 2, the defendant had just been refused entry to Lang’s public house in Grange and was very un-co-operative with gardai.

Mr MacSharry said the defendant had apologised to gardai at an early stage.

Ciaran Gillespie told the court that he wanted to sincerely apologise to the gardai.

His addiction had got to a certain level where he had no control over it and if he had continued it might be the end of him.

“I am very sorry for what I did.”

He told the court he had been in Cuan Mhuire since 2020 and it was his saviour and had started working with others and he was staying on to do an addiction studies course.

Sergeant Butler said there had been no further incidents.

The court heard he had six previous convictions for road traffic matters.

The defendant’s mother told the court she thought her son did have a problem with drink from his young days.

He had left school, did carpentry and worked very hard with an uncle in the US but “I think he always had this problem.”

His mother added that her son suffered from depression, was on tablets which made matters worse when they were combined with drink.

“When he comes out, his home in Donegal is always there for him and he can start his carpentry work again.”

The mother added that she believed the defendant was on “the right road 100 per cent.

Judge Kevin KIlrane applied the Probation Act on the charges of using threatening and abusive behaviour and obstructing and resisting Garda Sheehan in the course of an arrest in Grattan Street on December 3 2019.

This was on condition that he must continue to take his medication as prescribed by a doctor and remain alcohol free, for a period of two years.

The judge took the two charges of being drunk and a danger to himself and others in Grattan Street on December 3 and at Main Street Grange on December 2, into consideration.

The judge said he did not fully share Mrs Gillespie’s confidence and considered that the defendant was capable of going back on alcohol in times of crisis.

“I hope I am wrong,” the judge added.

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