Councillor Frank McBrearty seeks to have his trial in Dublin court

May 29, 2024

A Donegal County Councillor will apply to have charges against him heard at the Circuit Criminal Court in Dublin.

Councillor Frank McBrearty appeared at Buncrana District Court.

Councillor McBrearty, a 55-year-old of Tullyvinney, Raphoe was put on his election by Judge Ciaran Liddy in relation to an allegation that he stole a mobile phone on July 11, 2022.

Judge Liddy informed Councillor McBrearty that he had the right to be tried in the Circuit Court or in the District Court.

“First of all, my name is Councillor Frank McBrearty,” he said. “That is my title. I wish the court to address me as Councillor Frank McBrearty.”

In relation to the charge, he told Judge Liddy: “I elect the Circuit Criminal Court. Not in Donegal.”

A book of evidence will now be prepared in the matter.

Solicitor for Councillor McBrearty, Mr Patsy Gallagher, asked the State to note the application for transfer of the case.

Mr Gallagher said the application would be made “in the interest of fair trial” and is “something that will be addressed.”

The matter was adjourned until September 2.

Solicitor Mr Conor McGreevy, from the Dublin-based firm, Michael J Staines & Company Solicitors, told the court that he was present “on a watching brief”.

Mr Gallagher asked McGreevy which injured party he was representing. Mr McGreevy said he was unable to make an application and was unsure if he had a right of audience.

Previously, Mr Michael Staines has been present in court and indicated that he was keeping a watching brief on behalf of Donegal County Council.

Other matters for which Councillor McBrearty is charged have also been adjourned to September 2 and Mr Gallagher asked that “all matters travel together”.

Councillor McBrearty faces charges in relation to alleged incidents on five separate dates.

He is charged with stealing property, to wit, a Samsung S21 Ultra Mobile phone valued at €1,000, the property of Councillor Gary Doherty, at the Aura Leisure Centre, Sallaghrane, Letterkenny on July 11, 2022.

On the same date and at the same location, he is charged with assaulting Councillor Gerry McMonagle, as well as a public order charge and a charge of careless driving.

Councillor McBrearty is charged that on May 3, 2023 at County House, Lifford, he assaulted Mr Patsy Lafferty.

Councillor McBrearty has also been charged with a public order offence on March 23, 2022 at Ballymacarry Lower, Buncrana.

He is also charged with a breach of the peace at the Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny on March 28, 2022.

He is further charged with the wilful obstruction of a vehicle under Section 9 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 on December 13, 2021 at the car park of County House in Lifford.

Councillor McBrearty is also charged with a breach of the peace at the same location on the same date.