Three women were handed down convictions - one for assault causing harm - in connection with an incident which brought traffic to a halt on the Upper Park Road in Killarney related to a feud in the town in which people were living in “a nightmare”.
Ten of the 13 people before the marathon session of Killarney District Court were women.
The seven-hour sitting without any break heard there were “scuffles” in broad daylight, in some cases pregnant women and women who had recently given birth were mixed up in incidents, children were in the vicinity, abuse was hurled between parties outside Daly’s Supervalu; and there were incidents involving vehicles.
There were reports to gardaí of large groups of females fighting on the road at Upper Park Road, and other incidents involving women in the Hazlewood Drive and Ballyspillane area.
The 18-month old “ feud” between settled Traveller families in Ballyspillane is “ongoing” the special sitting set aside to deal with almost 40 charges at Killarney District court was told.
All cases were contested and several of the 39 charges have had to be adjourned and dates are to be set for further special days. Sentencing has been delayed to prevent “oneupmanship” in Ballyspillane until all can be dealt with together.
Gardaí were told they were not to hesitate to approach the court over Christmas if there was any trouble.
Among the cases dealt with was Shane McCarthy. He was found with a single golf club and a pike with a handle in the back of his vehicle at Upper Park Road on April 18, 2019.
He told gardaí he was a member of Rochestown Golf Club in Cork and was playing the previous day. He didn’t have to bother with the rest of the golf clubs as “we play golf with one golf club".
Mr McCarthy (aged 19) of Spring Bay Halting site in Blackpool, Cork, was acquitted by Judge David Waters of the charge under the firearms Act as no evidence was presented of how he intended to cause harm.
Margaret Harrington, aged 40, of Hilltop Upper, Ballycasheen Heights, Killarney, was convicted of assaulting Margaret Avanzo at around 7pm on August 31, 2018, at Upper Park Road.
She had denied the charge and said she acted in self-defence. Ms Avanzo said a white car came up behind her “beeping and beeping” near the upper car park at Daly’s Supervalu.
Ms Avanzo said she got out of her car as she couldn’t take anymore of the “nightmare”. She claimed Ms Harrington got out of the car and had a big massive weapon (a stick) but put the stick back into the car.
Ms Avanzo said:
However, Ms Harrington said Ms Avanzo had pulled her by the hair and she had previously left Killarney “because of this family".
Judge Waters also dismissed one case as he said there was no credibility on either side.
Lisa O’Brien Long claimed that Bridget Casey (nee O’Brien) and her husband James came out of their house shouting at her and banged on her car on March 21, as she was coming home from hospital after having a baby.
Ms Casey said: “It didn’t happen”. Mr Casey said “It never happened” and lies were being fabricated.
Judge David Waters said: “I don’t believe any of the three of them and I find all three absolutely unbelievable.” He dismissed the public order charges against the Caseys.
On October 31, 2018, gardaí and the fire service were attending in Ballyspillane. Bridget O’Brien was on the road in Hazlewood Drive collecting her child when Bridget Casey and Vera Dooley drove up.
Casey was convicted of common assault on Bridget O’Brien and on her sister Lisa O’Brien Long and Vera Dooley, aged 35, of 149 Ballyspillane was convicted of assaulting 40-year-old Margaret Harrington.
James Casey of 13 Hazlewood Drive was convicted of dangerous driving at Hazlewood on March 27 last.
John O’Brien told how he was on the road at around 9.30pm and was walking with a stick when a car came at high speed past him and “clipped him”. He said he swung his stick as the car came at him.
Dashcam footage provided by Mr Casey was shown to the court which showed Mr O’Brien make a striking motion at the car.
Mr Casey said O’Brien had lunged towards his car. Judge Waters disqualified Casey from driving for two years.
James Casey (aged 29) was found guilty also of calling Lisa O’Brien Long a “fat smell” and that he would burn her at Daly’s Supervalu car park at 8.30pm on July 5 last.
However, Mr Casey claimed he was being intimidated and his family was being abused “day and night”.
Judge Waters convicted him of a public order offence.
A date is to be decided for the remaining cases which may take up to three days.
The special sitting was attended by 20 gardaí and detectives.
Matters have been adjourned to December 17 next.