Swim club to benefit from donation after lakeside misbehaviour by local youth

Mullingar Swimming Club is to get a €250 donation from a Mullingar teenager who admitted his drunken behaviour at the diving board, Lough Owel, Ballinafid was out of order.

Ian McCullagh, 75 Farran, Mullingar was 17 on July 9 last when gardaí were called to the diving boards because of his behaviour.

He was drunk and abusive to members of the public, Inspector Jarlath Folan said, adding that there was a large number of children present.

Garda Tomás Blake asked McCullough to hand over his alcohol, but instead McCullough ran into the lake, roaring and shouting.

He refused to cease his behaviour and was later summonsed for public drunkenness and threatening behaviour.

McCullough has 14 previous convictions, nine of which are for public order offences. He has also been convicted of assault causing harm and of road traffic offences.

He’s currently completing 240 hours community service and has committed five offences since this incident.

Solicitor Patricia Cronin said his offending is less frequent now than in the past, admitting that he was often before the court.

She said he should not have been drinking and was a minor at the time, but has now finished a course and is on work experience.

His girlfriend is a stabilising influence, she said.

But Judge Hughes was critical of “any man who goes to a beach or resort and conducts himself as he does”.

“There’s nothing more obnoxious than a young man or group of young men intoxicated and abusive in the midday sun where families bring young kids to enjoy themselves,” he said.

He was not impressed that McCullough continued to be abusive when gardaí arrived and said that the teenager will be going to prison unless he digs deep into his pockets “for the money he won’t have to spend in pubs”.

McCullough was given two months to come up with €250 for Mullingar Swimming Club and if the money is not paid, he will go to jail for a month.

If it is paid, McCullough will be convicted and fined a further €250.

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