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Court hears allegations over Achill quarry dispute

Court hears allegations over Achill quarry dispute

A DISPUTE between two Achill families over access to adjacent quarries which resulted in a court appearance heard of alleged threats of how a house was going to be burnt down.
Fergal Gallagher of Dooagh, Achill appeared in Achill District Court accused of assault on Anthony Doran and obstruction of an MPV along a road leading to a quarry at Bunnacurry, Achill on October 19, 2011. Mr Doran (18) who was 17 at the time claimed that Mr Gallagher blocked his vehicle and accused him of spitting at him through the driver window and kicking the side of the jeep.
Mr Gallagher denied the accusation claiming that Mr Doran stalled his jeep and that he  threatened to burn his home with him in it.
The court heard that there was an ongoing dispute between the Gallaghers and Eugene Doran, father of Anthony, over access to quarries adjacent to each other. The Gallaghers own a quarry in Bunnacurry and Eugene Doran leased a quarry from the Valley Tenants Association and had to go through the Gallagher quarry to get to his.
At a previous court sitting involving the two families, the court was told that gardaí were called to the quarry ‘once a week or once every two weeks’.
Anthony Doran explained the he was coming out of the quarry when Michael Gallagher came out in front of him and lay on the bonnet of the jeep. He then claimed he ran over to the drivers window and spat at him and then started to kick at the side of the door and shout at him. He said he got nervous and stalled the jeep and was afraid of what he was going to do.
Under questioning from Mr Dermot Morahan, solicitor for the defendant, Mr Doran denied that he had stalled the jeep because he had a heavy load and that he told Mr Gallagher to ‘get out of the f***ing way’.
Garda Martin O’Reilly explained that when he investigated the alleged incident he met with Michael Gallagher who claimed that he was putting maintenance on the road when Anthony Doran stalled his jeep while carrying a trailer with three one tonne bags with sand in them.
In his evidence Mr Gallagher claimed that after stalling Anthony Doran told him to get out of the way ‘you and your wheelbarrow’. When he made reference to him about windows in his home which was smashed he claimed he asked Mr Doran was he going to smash his wheelbarrow like he smashed his windows. He claimed Mr Doran replied that he might burn his house with him in it.
When Judge Mary Devins heard this she said these were serious allegations and asked if there were any prosecutions from it. Superintendent Aiden Foley said he was not aware of it while Mr Morahan said his client’s shed had been doused in petrol and received a number of threatening phone calls.
Judge Devins told Mr Morahan had he was just ‘murkying the water’ and asked Superintendent Foley if gardaí were told this. He replied that the allegation was made in Mr Gallagher’s statement which was forwarded to the DPP but no directions were given.
Judge Devins said that what happened was cloaked in a fog and mist and uncertainty. She dismissed the charges against Mr Gallagher and told Superintendent Foley that if he was unhappy he could ‘go somewhere else’.