A farmer, in a foul-mouthed and rambling rant, told another farmer he would throw him under a tractor after a “run-in” on a country road.
John Keane, aged 43, of Clahansavane, Carrigaholt, Co Clare, pleaded guilty to sending the “menacing and grossly offensive” message over the phone to Eoin Gibson on August 15 last year.
He left a voicemail following an incident when Keane’s car, towing a slurry tank, came up against Mr Gibson’s tractor, towing a low loader with a track machine digger and a silage fork attached, on a narrow road.
He said in the voicemail: “Here’s a brief fucking message — your digger is over half the width of the road. The next time you meet me with a fucking digger and I’ve a tractor, you fucking yield — or I’ll follow you and I will pull you out of the fucking tractor.
“I’ll tell you don’t fucking squeeze me again or I’ll fuck you in under it. If you’ve a digger, Eoin, you pull in off the fucking road — you’re wider than half the fucking road. I’m entitled to my side of the road. I’m inside in the ditch — don’t push it now”.
However, Mr Gibson was not driving the tractor; it was his brother, Nigel, Kilrush District Court was told.
Mr Gibson told Judge Patrick Durcan the threat from Mr Keane had put him in fear.
The pair were childhood friends but were no longer so, due to a monetary dispute.
Mr Keane had been driving from Cross to Kilbaha on the Loop Head peninsula when the incident occurred.
Keane’s solicitor, Patrick Moylan, said there was a track-record there and that the voicemail had been left out of “pure frustration”.
Keane, a father of three, had no previous convictions, the court heard.
Mr Moylan said that, after the incident, Keane brought his mother to the funerals of Mr Gibson’s grandfather and his aunt, and had sympathised with him and paid his respects.
Inspector John Ryan said Mr Gibson was “none too happy with the ongoing situation”.
Garda Niall Cosgrove agreed with Judge Durcan that there is no friendship but a lot of bitterness between the parties. “It wouldn’t be the first time that a complaint has been made about a tractor meeting a car, but is very hard to determine fault on either side,” he said.
In evidence, Mr Gibson said: “I was threatened on August 15 by Mr Keane. There is no friendship between me and Mr Keane. It is long history going back a few years.”
Mr Gibson said they had fallen out as friends after he wasn’t fully paid by Keane for work in 2008/09. Mr Gibson said the amount outstanding is €6,000.
He said phone calls to recover the money had ended in verbal abuse.
Judge Durcan said: “After a little bit of poking, we have found the root cause of this matter and why there is septicemia in this relationship. It is very clear to me what this case is all about.”
He gave the parties until June 14 to resolve the issues.
The judge told the defending solicitor: “Mr Moylan, if it is not resolved, I will resolve it in a way that is not comfortable.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved