Patrick’s Day revelries end with shots fired at family

St Patrick’s Day celebrations ended with a big bang at a Limerick city housing estate.

After wetting the Shamrock, one family were shot at by a neighbour when a row over Facebook comments spilled over, Limerick Circuit Court heard.

Gerard Walsh, aged 58, of The Paddocks, Westbury, Corbally, pleaded not guilty to the reckless discharge of a shotgun and causing criminal damage to a car which was hit by pellets. Brendan Wallace, who lives at Fernleigh, Westbury recalled celebrating St Patrick’s Day, 2015 in a local pub with his wife Patricia, and their 18-year-old son, Brandon.

An argument broke out between Brandon Wallace and another man, Thomas McNamara, who took offence at a comment made on Facebook.

Security staff intervened and they went outside the pub where Mr McNamara and Brandon shook hands. This appeared to be the end of the matter.

Brendan Wallace said he and his wife went home and a short time later heard shouting outside.

On going to investigate, Mr McNamara, with a screwdriver in his hand, attacked him, slicing his face. Had he not slipped on grass, he would have had his throat slit.

His wife contacted Brandon and on his arrival home, the three of them got into their car and drove through the estate.

They came on Thomas McNamara, who ran into the porch of the home of Gerard Walsh.

Brandon armed himself with a curtain pole and Ms Wallace armed herself with a crutch and followed Mr McNamra into the house where he was given a few digs.

Brendan Wallace said on returning to their car, they were about to drive off when he heard a loud bang. On looking back he saw the accused with a shot gun.

The door of their car had been hit by shotgun pellets.

During his opening address to the jury, John O’Sullivan, prosecuting, said it was accepted that the accused and members of his family were very upset when the Wallaces chased Mr McNamara into their house.

The accused, he said, was a man of good character and was careful and scrupulous in the way he kept his licensed shotgun.

The law, he said, allows a person to defend themselves, their property and family and this was a well-recognised right.

A member of the US Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes, he said, once remarked that “detached reflection was not expected when a person is confronted with a raised knife”.

But in this case, the State claims the Wallaces were retreating from the house, when the accused discharged the gun.

It was the prosecution’s case, he said, this was not reasonable force and Walsh was ‘over the top’ in firing the gun.


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