Leaders of feuding Traveller families say battle is over

The men who say the battle between the Dinnegans/McDonaghs is over are the same men who did nothing to prevent the Dalton Park riot from taking place, Mullingar Circuit Court has heard.

Speaking after all of the 62 men and one woman were given suspended sentences of between one and four years on Wednesday for their part in the riot, the men described as the leaders of both factions said the feud was definitively over.

“There won’t be any more of that in Mullingar ever again. It will never happen,” said 55-year-old Christy ‘Ditsy’ Nevin.

“I don’t know in the Midlands of Ireland with other people, [but] it will never happen with us, the Dinnegans or McDonaghs ever again,” said the father of eight sons, who lives at St Michael’s Park.

His comments were echoed by 37-year-old Anthony Dinnegan, who said the suspended sentences were “a lesson for everyone”.

“Please God and his blessed mother, everyone will take it. And I can guarantee you that I’ll be taking it anyways,” he said.

He described himself as a happy man and said he was grateful that “no one is going to prison and it will learn people to respect and get on with one another. That’s [the] most important thing and it’s a good thing.”

However, giving a summary of the case before Judge Kennedy, prosecuting counsel John Hayden said both sides had failed to get involved in mediation.

A government-appointed mediator had made no progress between the two sides because “neither would move their position to any great degree”.

He said that while Superintendent Gantly and the negotiator had met with the Dinnegan family in advance of the riot, “the Nevins refused to attend”.

Even on the morning of the riot, it might have been possible to avert the carnage, had Ditsy Nevin not dropped his trousers, revealing his backside to furious and insulted members of the Dinnegan and McDonagh families.

Outside the courthouse on Wednesday, both denied that they were ringleaders, with Mr Nevin saying “I was no ringleader, I’m not. I was all for peace all the time”.

He said the four year sentence handed down on him was not fair and said there were 100 more people who had not been prosecuted by the Gardaí.

Mr Dinnegan was calmer. “I wouldn’t put myself down to be the ringleader,” he said.

”But I’m glad that I got the opportunity to be gave another chance. I won’t be getting in trouble any more.”


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