A brazen eighteen-year-old smiled and joked with his friends as he was being led out of Westport District Court to serve a three month prison sentence after he refused to comply with bail conditions.
John McDonagh of 6 McDermott Street, Ballina responded ‘sound’ when Judge Conal Gibbons told him he would find ‘another place to put you’ after the teenager told the court he would not co-operate with the probation service.
After Judge Gibbons sentenced him to three months imprisonment in St Patrick’s Institute, McDonagh smiled and joked with gardaí and said ‘see ya later’ to friends and family as he was being led from the court.
The Ballina teenager was before the court for shouting abuse at gardaí while intoxicated in Westport last month. Inspector Joe McKenna outlined to that court that on September 10, the gardaí received reports of two young males throwing bottles on Bridge Street in the town. Garda Adrian McGlynn and a colleague met Mr McDonagh and the other male in the James Street carpark and they were ‘extremely intoxicated’.
He was abusive to the gardaí, telling them to ‘f**k off’ and was aggressive before being arrested. On September 24, Mr McDonagh was also arrested on James Street for being intoxicated and abusive to Garda Margaret O’Connor.
Judge Gibbons said it was extraordinary that Mr McDonagh who is small in stature and described in court as ‘looking no more than 13’ could be so abusive to gardaí. He said that it seemed to him that he was trying to be a hard man and show his mettle to people.
Mr James Ward, solicitor for the defendant, said there was no excuse for his behaviour and that he got the distinct impression that this was a ‘right of passage’ for Mr McDonagh. He added that he was never in trouble before and this was his first time in court.
Mr McDonagh’s parents were in the court which heard he was the youngest of 14 children and he had not completed his Leaving Cert.
During the session, Judge Gibbons commented that Mr McDonagh looked ‘very happy with himself’ and warned him that despite it being his first conviction he could sent him to St Pat’s.
Judge Gibbons said he would give him an opportunity to ‘mend his ways’ and take a certain course of action if he behaves himself over the next year and decided to adjourn sentencing until next July.
“He is getting an opportunity to mend his ways. He is a young fellow with no sense and all bluster and bravado,” said Judge Gibbons.
Part of his bail conditions were to stay out of Westport until next July and co-operate with the probation service. However, Mr McDonagh said he didn’t want to work with the probation service and told Judge Gibbons he will ‘not do it’ if he is ordered.
Judge Gibbons said he would cut his losses and find ‘another place to put you’ before sentencing the defendant to three months imprisonment.