A judge has expressed his horror and outrage at feuding in Mullingar as yet another man is convicted.
“Is there no respect for people’s property in Mullingar?” asked Judge Patrick Clyne when he heard evidence from Garda Adrian O’Reilly that Hayley Merton had been “petrified” in her house when it was attacked.
“I will not allow any man to go into any woman’s house and smash it up,” said the judge who described the incident as “unforgivable”. €500 damage was done to doors and windows when Hugh Nevin of 114 Ashfield and others caused what the garda described as “extensive damage” to 55 Raithín, the home which Ms Merton shared with Patrick Myers, whose family has been involved in a feud with the Nevin family.
Garda O’Reilly said he couldn’t answer whether the men had since resolved their differences but did accept that there had been prior incidents and there was tension between the families.
Judge Clyne said Mr Nevin was lucky Ms Merton “didn’t take a hurley stick and beat the head off him”.
“Where would your head be? Floating in the river – and wouldn’t you deserve it?” he asked, clearly angry with the details of the case before him.
However the judge refused to accept Mr Robert Marren’s contention that his client had been “swept up in the scenario”.
“Is he 12 years of age?” he asked, saying Mr Nevin was “big and bauld, no child, no shrinking violet”.
He was unimpressed that the 23-year-old had waited until the tenth time the case was before the court to plead guilty.
“What about the terror, the broken glass, the slashing of the house?” he asked.
Judge Clyne made it clear that sizeable compensation was a minimum requirement to keep Mr Nevin out of jail. “Has he come with one arm as long as the other? If he has, he’s leaving in handcuffs,” said the judge who added that the defendant had “enough of his pals here who can divvy money out of money machines”.
“He has never paid a penny into the tax system and neither have his mates.”
When Mr Marren proposed a sum of compensation, the judge’s response was “Like hell. Put a two in front of it,” and the court was adjourned to allow Mr Nevin come up with €2,500 compensation on the charges of trespass causing fear and criminal damage.
A probation bond was put in place because Mr Nevin is one of a number of men who will be sent forward to the Circuit Court to answer charges of violent disorder at 9 Valley Bungalows in September 2007.
The six are all members of the Nevin family and all are charged with the offence which can earn up to ten years imprisonment on conviction. Three of the men also face charges of possession of a slash hook.