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Garda praised for ‘courage’ in Westport festival arrest

Judge praises Garda for ‘courage’ in Westport arrest

A district court judge has praised a Westport based Garda for his ‘courage and commitment’ to his duties. Garda Martin Kelly was lauded by Judge Conal Gibbons after he stayed firm in arresting an Islandeady man outside a Westport pub during the Westport Music Festival. ?Whilst attempting to arrest Darren Heraty of Three Bridges, Islandeady at 8.58pm on Sunday, August 7, Garda Kelly was impeded by people in the vicinity of Heraty and had to call for back-up.?Garda Kelly told Castlebar District Court that he observed Heraty at 8.50pm in a very agitated manner outside a pub on Mill Street, kicking a table on the street. He asked Heraty to calm down, but told the court that he refused and Garda Kelly went to arrest him at 8.58pm.?He added that he had to call for back-up though when a large crowd gathered around him to intervene and attempt to stop him arresting Heraty.?James Warde, solicitor for Heraty, said his client was ‘obnoxious and unhelpful’ on the night but that he wasn’t helped by the behaviour of his friends. Heraty had apologised to Garda Kelly that week and also on the morning of the court.?“To obstruct you in that manner is a very sinister situation,” said Judge Gibbons. “I hope the people of Westport appreciate that you are able to cope in such a serious and risky situation and I commend you to your Superintendent in how fearless you were in the execution of your duty.?”One wouldn’t think that a Garda going about his duty at a festival would be at risk. I imagine that at these festivals people consume alcohol to excess, and that that can sometimes lead to unreasonable behaviour. GardaÆ go about their work without fear or favour and they certainly don’t get enough credit,” added Judge Gibbons.?The court heard that Heraty had eight previous convictions, six for public order but had never been in prison.?“Maybe now we’ve reached that time,” interjected the judge.?James Warde said that his client was out celebrating the Christening of his second child and it was his first time drinking in four months. He told the court that Heraty said ‘alcohol doesn’t agree with me’ and asked the judge not to impose a prison sentence as Heraty would then become a further drain on society.?He added that Heraty lived at home with his parents and came to court on his own because he didn’t want his mother to endure the case. Mr Warde added that Heraty’s parents were ‘appalled’ at his behaviour. ?Judge Gibbons agreed to give him the benefit of the doubt and recommended him for community service. The matter was put back to Westport District Court on October 6 and if Heraty is found suitable, he will then be sentenced to 180 hours community service in lieu of two months in prison.