A late night row over a bag of chips culminated in a Tipperary builder beating up two female gardaí.
At Ennis Circuit Court yesterday, married father of three, James Ryan, aged 57, of Grange Rd, Ballina, received a suspended 18-month jail term for the assault causing harm of Garda Áine Troy and Garda Tracy Corcoran on September 19, 2015.
In the case, Garda Troy and Garda Corcorcan were called to a late-night incident at New York Pizza in Ballina where Mr Ryan was in a dispute with the owner over a bag of chips claiming that he had paid for the chips.
However, on arrival. Mr Ryan assaulted both gardaí and in their victim impact statements heard in court yesterday, both told of the trauma suffered as a result of the attack.
In her statement, Garda Troy said that Mr Ryan “was irate and would not co-operate”.
She said: “He became violent and lashed out, assaulting me and Garda Corcoran.
“From this assault, I received neck and shoulder injuries which have caused me pain especially when pregnant.”
Garda Troy added: “This injury has caused interference with my day-to-day life and managing my young children and restricted my ability to perform certain tasks.”
She said: “This incident was frightening and upsetting.”
In her victim impact statement, Garda Corcoran — who has served as a garda for 16 years — said: “I will never forget that night.
“Mr Ryan was extremely aggressive and slammed me against the door of the restaurant and this was the start of the violent assault against Garda Troy and I.”
Garda Corcoran said that Mr Ryan “caught me and threw me around the yard when I attempted to arrest him”.
She said that she sustained “a painful shoulder injury and I see no immediate relief in the near future”.
“My quality of life has been affected as I can no longer fully engage in activities I once enjoyed,” she added.
Counsel for Mr Ryan, Michael Collins BL, said that the behaviour by Mr Ryan on the night “was completely out of character” and “completely irrational”.
Mr Collins said that he could not, or his client could not, explain how Mr Ryan went out by himself for a few drinks and ended up assaulting the two gardaí before being brought to the local Garda station.
Mr Collins said that Mr Ryan had only four to five pints of alcohol on the night.
Mr Collins said that his client has never come to the attention of gardaí, has no previous convictions and said that the case could have been dealt with in the district court.
Mr Collins said his client is ashamed of his actions and wishes to apologise to the gardaí.
Judge Gerald Keys said he was disappointed that Mr Ryan had not written a letter of apology to his two victims since he entered his plea of guilty on February 21 and his apology through his counsel has come late in the day.
Judge Keys said that he would impose an 18-month prison term but because of Mr Ryan’s good character and submissions made on his behalf, he would suspend the prison term.
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