Man jailed after putting bottle to priest’s throat

A priest was put in fear when a drunken man held a bottle to him and threatened him after the priest approached a group of people outside a church.

Yesterday, the man was jailed for six months on a charge of assault.

Inspector Adrian Gamble said at Cork District Court yesterday that the incident occurred at around 6pm on July 15, 2015.

Michael McInerney, aged 40, of 18 Farran St, Cork, changed his plea to one of guilty yesterday to charges of assaulting Fr Gerard Dunne, producing a bottle and being drunk and a source of danger.

Insp Gamble said Fr Dunne tried to remove a group of people from steps outside St Mary’s Priory, Mulgrave Rd, Cork, on July 15, 2014.

McInerney first became verbally abusive to Fr Dunne and then put a bottle to his throat.

McInerney and the other people present at the time then left the scene and the priest called the gardaí. He gave a description of the man who held the bottle to him.

Gardaí drove around the area but were unable to find anyone fitting the description of McInerney. Later gardaí located the accused, arrested him and questioned him on the matter.

“He admitted being involved in an altercation with a priest but due to his level of intoxication, he could not recall the extent of the incident,” Insp Gamble said.

The inspector said that McInerney had 68 previous convictions, including one for assault causing harm and one of being in possession of a knife. He also had 13 for engaging in threatening behaviour and 17 for being drunk and a source of danger.

Michael Quinlan, defence solicitor, said: “Mr McInerney accepts the facts. He has a very poor recollection of it due to the amount of alcohol he had consumed. In relation to the incident it was a bottle he was drinking out of, a bottle plain and simple. He did not break the bottle.

“He does have a big difficulty with drink. He wishes to apologise for his actions.

“It is no excuse but the reason for it was that he was drunk.”

Judge Olann Kelleher imposed a sentence of six months on the accused.

“It must have been a frightening experience for the priest,” the judge said.

The judge said he was concerned about the fact that the defendant’s previous convictions included having a knife.


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