Councillor charged with public order offence at Donegal hotel

July 13, 2023

A County Councillor has been charged under the Public Order Act following an alleged incident at a Co Donegal hotel.

Frank McBrearty Jnr case was called at Buncrana District Court earlier today.

Councillor McBrearty is alleged to have used or engaged in threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to provoke a breach of the peace or being reckless as to whether a breach of the peace might have been occasioned.

Details of the actual incident were not disclosed in court.

The incident allegedly happened during a conference being held for councillors from across the country at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana on March 23rd, 2022.

The conference, held by the Association of Irish Local Government, was attended by Minister of State for Local Government and Planning Peter Burke.

Councillor McBrearty, 54, was not in court for the brief appearance but was represented by his solicitor, Mr Patsy Gallagher.

When the matter was previously before the court it was struck out due to the summons having been sent to the wrong address.

The case was listed again on Thursday at Buncrana District Court. Councillor McBrearty was not present for the brief hearing.

Solicitor for McBrearty, Mr Patsy Gallagher, told the court that there was ‘some difficulty with the charge’. Mr Gallagher said this was the second time the matter was before the court having been previously struck out.

“It was struck out, not dismissed,” Judge Cunningham remarked.

Sergeant Sean McDaid applied to amend the charge.

Mr Gallagher said he had only been informed on the morning of the court of the application for an amendment.

“There is a substantial difficulty with addresses,” Mr Gallagher said.

He requested that the case be linked to ‘overall matters’ at Letterkenny District Court on Monday next.

Sergeant McDaid told the court that he was applying to amend the summons ‘at the earliest possible date’.

“That was the last date,” Mr Gallagher contested.

Judge Cunningham said the summons was reissued and noted the application from Sergeant McDaid.

The case was adjourned to link with other matters at Monday’s sitting of Letterkenny District Court.

Mr Michael Stains, solicitor, informed the court that he was present on behalf of Donegal County Council ‘on a watching brief’.

Mr Gallagher asked the court “Why?”

The matter was adjourned to Monday next, July 17th.