A judge has said that a West Clare farmer who told another farmer in a “foul-mouthed rant” that he would fuck him under a tractor after a run-in on a country road “seems to be at this all the time”.
Judge Patrick Durcan made the comment after hearing that John Keane, aged 43, of Clahansavane, Carrigaholt, posted “a very uncomplimentary message” on Facebook after his last appearance in court where he pleaded guilty to sending the “menacing and grossly offensive” message over the phone to Eoin Gibson on August 15, 2015.
Daragh Hassett, solicitor for the victim, Eoin Gibson, told Kilrush District Court that after the case was in court last month, Mr Keane tried to contact Mr Gibson and when he failed to do so, he posted a message on Facebook to a farming website.
Mr Hassett said that Mr Keane deleted the post but that Mr Gibson had a screen-grab of it and reading it said: “I am John Keane. Eoin Gibson and his brothers have squeezed both me and my wife and kids in the car on the road on at least five occasions.
“I rang him to stop this carry on. He didn’t answer and I left a message after being squeezed by a digger and a low loader.”
In the message, Mr Keane alleged that Mr Gibson owed him money for topsoil.
It went on: “I was never in court bar for a couple of road summons — I find myself all over the media for one phone call…I could say a lot more, but that is for another day.”
On hearing the message read out in court, Judge Durcan said: “This is not simply a matter of sending a grossly offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing message by telephone, but Mr Keane seems to be continuing. He seems to be at this all the time.”
Solicitor for Mr Keane, Martina Brennan said her client “is at his wit’s end”.
In response, Judge Durcan said: “He is not at his wit’s end, he is at his telephone’s end and unfortunately, he is doing damage to other people’s reputations.
“I have lived all my life in rural Ireland. I know how bitter these disputes can be. Let me tell you a bitter dispute like this does nothing, but eat up everyone of you. It eats into you like a cancer. It does huge damage.
Judge Durcan said that Mr Keane has engaged “in appalling behaviour”.
Judge Durcan had adjourned the case from last month to allow Mr Keane pay €6,000 owed to Mr Gibson for work done in 2008/09.
Yesterday, Judge Durcan directed the parties and solicitors meet outside court to resolve outstanding issues.
Later, Mr Hassett returned to say an offer was made and Mr Gibson is satisfied and would convey this to the court on the adjourned date next week.
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