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Balla gunman denied bail

Balla gunman denied bail after refusing to live in Dublin

Trevor Quinn

The Claremorris man who shot a mother of four at a supermarket in Balla last May was denied bail at last week’s sitting of Ballinrobe District Court after he refused to reside in Dublin with his niece.
Vincent O’Donnell, Knocknabrone, Mayo Abbey, Claremorris, objected to the terms of the bail, citing it would interfere with his employment prospects. The 47-year-old runs a barber business in Claremorris, and he told the court he would have no way of earning a living in Dublin.
On May 31 last, O’Donnell entered a Costcutter supermarket in Balla carrying a full-length firearm and allegedly fired shots at employee and local woman Dympna Walsh. Ms Walsh, who is in her early 50s and the mother of four sons, sustained serious leg injuries and required surgery.
O’Donnell dropped the firearm immediately after the attack and fled the scene. He was arrested a few hours later in a pub just over three miles away.
On Friday last, O’Donnell appeared before Judge Mary Devins charged with firearms offences. He is also charged with assaulting Dympna Walsh, Kiltimagh Road, Balla and causing her serious harm contrary to Section 4 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act.
Defence solicitor Ciara Macklin applied for bail for her client ahead of his Circuit Court trial on October 11 next. Mr Vincent Deane, State solicitor for Mayo said he would not object to  bail, provided a number of conditions were adhered to. These conditions included that Vincent O’Donnell reside with his niece Michelle O’Donnell in Clondalkin, Dublin, and that he would not enter Mayo except to attend court sittings or appointments with his psychiatrist. The gardai should also be notified while he was visiting the county.
Other conditions included not staying overnight in Mayo and obeying a curfew to remain at the family residence in Clondalkin between 11pm and 7am.
After speaking with O’Donnell, Ms Mackin informed the court that he would not consent to the bail conditions.
Judge Devins said it was meaningless to apply the conditions if they were not going to be adhered to. She added, “Are you telling the court you’d prefer to return to Castlerea Prison?” O’Donnell nodded and said that he would.
Judge Devins concluded by saying that she was of the opinion that none of the bail conditions was too demanding. “I would have been willing to meet you half way. There doesn’t seem to be anything onerous about the conditions. I think there’s something more here than meets the eye.”
O’Donnell previously appeared in Harristown court for a bail hearing. Judge Devins subsequently remanded him in custody on the same terms and returned him to Castlerea Prison. 
Bail was fixed for O’Donnell on his own bond of €300 and an independent surety of €2,700. A book of evidence was also served on O’Donnell. It is likely the case will be heard at some stage in 2012 and the case is due for mention at Castlebar Circuit Court on October 11.