Community service order for man involved in fracas outside hotel

A 36-year-old Sligo man with a number of previous public order convictions escaped a prison sentence at Castlebar District Court when he was give 200 hours’ community service in lieu of two consecutive three-month prison sentences.

Michael Sweeney, 62 Caltra Crescent, Sligo, pleaded guilty to threatening, abusive, or insulting behaviour in a public place and failure to comply with the direction of a member of An Garda Siochana outside the McWilliam Park Hotel, Claremorris on May 5 2012.

The court was told at 12.30am on May 5, 2012, gardai received a call from management in the McWilliam Park that a group of men who had been asked to leave the premises refused to do so. The gardai arrived on the scene and they ordered the group of men to move on. They moved outside the door, but while some of the group moved off, Sweeney and another man remained at the scene and an incident took place during which the other man in Sweeney’s presence had to be arrested. But in the process of this taking place gardai had to use their pepper spray on the other man and Sweeney got involved as they tried to arrest his companion, and they had to use their pepper spray on him to subdue him.

Garda Foley from the Regional Support Unit, who was one of the members of the gardai who went to the scene, told the court that Sweeney’s colleague was the main aggressor on the night and Sweeney only got involved to help out his companion, he believes. Judge Devins ordered a report for Sweeney’s suitability for community service to be carried out and if found suitable, that he carry out two separate 100-hour periods of community service in lieu of two three-month periods of detention in prison.

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