Four defendants were before a special sitting of Castlebar District Court on Monday for a brawl which occurred in Castlebar town where a claw hammer, hurley, and vice grip were brandished in the middle of the street, and criminal damage and assault was committed. Judge Kevin Kilrane said that this “mayhem” on the busy streets of the county town was a “total disgrace” and put decent people in fear.
Garda Colette Farragher outlined that at 11.15am on Tuesday March 23 gardaí were called to a disturbance on Linenhall Street. Traffic in the area had come to a standstill due to the incident and gardaí were forced to make their way by foot to the scene. Three females, a mother and her two daughters, were observed shouting at a male in the middle of the road.
Assistance was called and the male — Owen McDonagh, 56 An Sruthán, Castlebar, was arrested. His aunt, Mary Maughan, 1 Rowan Drive, Castlebar was observed to have blood coming from the side of her head and she was brought by ambulance to Mayo General Hospital. Garda Farragher noted that two cars were damaged at the scene — a blue Ford Focus belonging to McDonagh and a blue Peugeot 306 belonging to the Maughans.
Before court along with Maughan and McDonagh was Maughan’s daughter Philomena Maughan, 1 Rowan Drive, Castlebar, and her brother Terry Maughan of the same address. The other daughter who was at the scene was not before the court. All four defendants pleaded guilty to charges against them. Mary Maughan pleaded guilty to being threatening and abusive and for a section two assault on McDonagh. Philomena Maughan pleaded guilty to a section two assault on McDonagh and for section two criminal damage to a car belonging to McDonagh, and Terry Maughan pleaded guilty to section two assault on McDonagh. McDonagh pleaded guilty to being threatening and abusive, for a section two assault on Mary Maughan, and for criminal damage caused to the Maughans’ car. The entire incident was captured on CCTV.
Garda Farragher outlined that McDonagh had come to a stop at a red light on Linenhall Street, when two women got out of a car behind him — one of these women was Mary Maughan. Words were exchanged before a hammer and hurley were brandished by McDonagh and Maughan and both parties were assaulted. The other defendants also got involved and criminal damage was caused to both cars. Pedestrians in the area were observed to almost get hit in the fracas.
The court heard that Philomena Maughan (22 ) has no previous convictions, neither has Terry Maughan (24 ). Their mother Mary, who is almost 60 years old has previous convictions. According to their solicitor, Tom Walsh, the family have been living in Castlebar all their lives and “provocation” led to the incident.
McDonagh (23 ), is a father of two, who has numerous previous convictions and is attending psychiatric services. According to his solicitor, Aidan Crowley, his client intended to go fishing that day only for the fact that he was “set upon” by the women.
Judge Kilrane said McDonagh was “extremely violent” and “will kill given the right circumstances or be killed”. The judge said that it was an “absolute scandal” and “a total disgrace” that someone on social welfare was out with a hammer assaulting people putting “fear and dread” into the decent people of Castlebar. He directed McDonagh have no contact with the Maughans between now and Ballina Court on October 1, adding, “If you are in trouble between now and October I will sentence you to prison for the maximum that I can give you.”
Addressing the Maughans, the judge said that a “riot was caused” all because “you thought it was an appropriate time and place to have a go at McDonagh — you couldn’t contain yourself.” Judge Kilrane told them they “want to be treated same as everyone else”, however because of their own actions they should not blame people if they are treated differently.
The judge remanded the Maughans on continuing bail to Ballina Court on October 1.