Man found with knife during city pub dispute

A Galway man, who became embroiled in an altercation at a city centre pub, had no recollection of the incident or of concealing a stainless steel knife after consuming a cocktail of alcohol and valium, the Galway District Court heard this week.

Oliver Cunningham (35 ) with an address at 32 Elm Park, Renmore, Galway, was brought before the court sitting last Monday where he pleaded guilty to being intoxicated in a public place, to threatening and abusive behaviour and to having a sharply pointed knife on his person.

Inspector Michael O’Dwyer told the court that an incident occurred at 6.45pm on April 1, 2008, at Bowling Green. He said a dispute had arisen in the vicinity of Sally Longs and that when gardai arrived at the scene the defendant was found to be outside the premises, shouting loudly and cursing.

The behaviour of Cunningham was such that he had to be restrained by staff. Inspector O’Dwyer added that when Cunningham was taken to Galway Garda Station and searched “a stainless steel knife” was found to have been concealed and “tucked under” at his waist.

The court heard that the defendant had previous convictions for being intoxicated in a public place in December 2006 and for driving without insurance and a driving licence in March 2002.

Defence solicitor Ms Olivia Traynor told Judge Mary Fahy that her client was a man with “serious difficulties with alcohol” and that he “only remembers waking up in the garda station”. She said that her client knows that he had been drinking heavily that day and had also taken valium. Judge Fahy was also told that the knife had not been used.

“It’s still very serious. You can’t go out armed with a knife,” Judge Fahy warned.

Cunningham replied that he was a “chronic alcoholic” and had been “taking valium to stay off the drink”. He added that he was now “off everything” and seeking help for his addiction.

For possession of the knife, Judge Fahy convicted the defendant and fined him €800 with four months to pay. A further fine of €100 with four months to pay was imposed for being intoxicated in a public place. The other charge was taken into consideration. Legal aid was also granted.

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