Two men who punched and headbutted gardaí following a drunken night out in Athlone were both given the benefit of the Probation Act after they each paid €600 in compensation.
“I take considerable pleasure in taking €600 off them - especially because they’re Cavan men,” said Judge Seamus Hughes to Shane Fitzsimons (21 ), and Darren Maguire (21 ), both from Virginia, Co Cavan.
At their last appearance on March 26 where their offer of €300 each was not accepted, the judge told them: “You can’t go around punching gardaí and thinking it’s fine. It’s not acceptable. I have to make sure your Christmas visit to Athlone is memorable for a long time to come”.
On that occasion Inspector Aidan Minnock told how Fitzsimons and Maguire earned the attention of gardaí on patrol on the night of December 19 outside Sean’s Bar, Main Street, Athlone.
The inspector explained how, after refusing to move on, Fitzsimons had punched Garda Dempsey, and Maguire had headbutted Garda Linnane.
“That says a lot for your boxing ability,” said the judge after hearing the garda he punched not only didn’t take any sick leave, but continued working that night.
Defending solicitor Mr Mark Cooney told the court that his two clients had little recollection of the incident, but had no previous convictions.
He explained at their appearance in March how each had brought €300 in compensation for the gardaí, which he declared was “quite an achievement for two gentlemen from Cavan”.
“He headbutted a garda in the nose, Mr Cooney. Where did you learn to do that?” enquired the judge.
“Dunno,” mumbled Maguire.
“Mr Cooney, if you got a headbutt into the nose you’d put more value on it than that. I’m going to send you back to Virginia and get you back here for July with another €300,” said the judge then.
On Wednesday this was completed and the judge enquired: “How do you feel being €600 poorer after your Cavan man night out in Athlone?”