Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion last week gave a character reference in court to a man who was convicted for assaulting a Garda and behaving in an abusive and threatening manner, the Irish Examiner can reveal.
The TD, elected for the first time in February to the constituency of Carlow-Kilkenny, yesterday confirmed she gave a character witness statement on behalf of Keith Gilligan, and was in court in Kilkenny during the hearing last Thursday.
It is understood, that Gilligan, who had no prior convictions was arrested in connection with an incident during an anti-water charge protest during a visit of former Tanaiste Joan Burton to Kilkenny earlier this year.
The Kilkenny District Criminal Court convicted Gilligan on the two charges, but it is understood he is to appeal. He was convicted on two charges — one of assault on a Garda and one of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner.
Details of the case, given to the Irish Examiner, reveal that, on the charge of assault of Garda Noel Casey, Gilligan was fined €1,500 and was given 90 days to pay the fine. On the charge of threatening and abusive behaviour, Gilligan was fined €500 and was given six months to pay it.
A Sinn Féin spokeswoman said Ms Funchion offered the statement because she had known Gilligan for a “very long time”.
In 2014, the then Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins lobbied a judge on behalf of a drug dealer involved in a criminal trial.
The Limerick TD admitted he made a “mistake” by appealing to a judge not to jail a man caught with €17,000 worth of drugs.
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