A man who breached a protection order, which his mother had taken out against him, was before the holiday sitting of Castlebar District Court on Wednesday.
Amy Moran told the court that on July 12 2013 she was at home (9 Chestnut Grove, Westport ) when her son Damien McGrotty, of no fixed abode, appeared at her open kitchen window. He said to his mother that he needed a bill as proof of address so that he could collect his money. Ms Moran told him to get away and she said that he then jumped in the window. She said that she went upstairs and tried to get into the bathroom so that she could lock herself in, however he blocked her entrance to the bathroom.
Ms Moran said that she then went downstairs and tried to get out the front door, however she said that her son then blocked her exit. She went to the kitchen where the window was open and shouted for help. She told the court that McGrotty then closed the window tight. As she made her way to the back door she saw a letter with an address on it and said to her son to take it. He then left and she contacted gardaí.
The following day, gardaí had arranged to call to her house to take a statement. Just before gardaí arrived she unlocked her side entrance and saw the feet of her son lying on the ground. She knew that he was sleeping beside the house. When gardaí arrived she told him he was there.
Garda Paul Lafferty said that on arriving at 1.15pm he observed Ms Moran in a distressed state and said that she was pointing at the side entrance to the house. Garda Lafferty said that he saw the defendant try to enter the property through a side gate towards the rear of the property. He was arrested and was remanded in custody.
Ms Moran told the court that she is “a nervous wreck with him” and said that he is “never sober” but she said that her son had “never laid his hands on me”. She told the court that her son has been living rough around her premises. His solicitor Evan O’Dwyer said that his client had slept in a wheelie bin at his mother’s property but has never entered the house to go to sleep.
McGrotty told the court that he had been sleeping out the back of the house for a couple of weeks, “but she knew that I was there”. He denied breaking into the house or blocking her. He said that he stood at the bottom of the stairs and was in the house for five minutes.
When asked if he breached the protection order he replied: “I don’t know, I can’t recall”. The defendant said that there was no need for a protection order as “I love my mam”, “that’s it, full stop.”
Inspector Damien Flanagan asked the defendant why his mother would say that he broke into the house. He replied that “probably the gardaí coaxed her into saying it.” He went on to say to the court that since his sister “was arrested for membership of the IRA that there has been nothing but bother.” When asked why he was at the house on July 13 he said that he wanted to stay at the back of the house.
Judge Conal Gibbons said that the defendant was in breach of the protection order on July 12 but said there was not sufficient evidence for the second date.
The court heard that McGrotty has 18 previous convictions—10 in Northern Ireland and eight in the Republic.
Judge Gibbons told him that “whether you like it or lump it you must obey the protection order,” McGrotty replied “I suppose.” The defendant gave an undertaking not to breach the protection order. Judge Gibbons told the defendant that he was giving him a chance but if he breached it he would come back before him. He remanded McGrotty on continuing bail to August 28 for a community service report. Conditions of bail were that he does not drink any alcohol; signs on three days a week in Westport Garda Station; stays away from his mother’s property and from his mother; and co-operates with the gardaí and probation service.