Man’s ear was almost severed in hatchet attack, court hears

A CLARE man had his ear almost severed in an alleged hatchet attack by his brother in Shannon on Wednesday night, a court heard.

At Ennis District Court yesterday, Michael James McDonagh, aged 37, of Ballymurtagh halting site, appeared in connection with a Section 3 assault causing harm to his younger brother Michael McDonagh at the Shannon halting site on August 31 at about 8.30pm.

Detective Sergeant Kevin O’Hagan said Michael McDonagh had his ear almost severed after a blow to the side of the head from a hatchet and suffered a slash wound across his stomach.

Det Sgt O’Hagan said: “Michael McDonagh required 15 to 20 stitches to his head and stitches to his stomach and has undergone an operation to repair the ear, which was almost severed.”

He said that Michael McDonagh was admitted to Limerick Regional Hospital after the alleged attack and remains there.

Inspector Tom Kennedy described the incident as “a serious assault”, stating that gardaí were objecting to bail.

When applying for bail yesterday, Michael James McDonagh showed a cut to his forehead and said: “My brother tried to kill me with a hurley. He was trying to take my life. I acted in self-defence”.

Insp Kennedy put it to McDonagh: “It is the case that you almost killed your brother.”

McDonagh responded: “I didn’t. I haven’t seen my brother since the incident. I don’t know about his injuries, only what you are telling me.”

Insp Kennedy said that Michael James McDonagh is in dispute with his family at Ballymurtagh and his father was in court to give evidence as to why his son should not secure bail.

Det Sgt O’Hagan said a large number of children live on the halting site where the alleged attack took place.

Solicitor for Michael James McDonagh, Tara Godfrey, said her client suffered injuries to his head and side in the incident and was also admitted to Limerick Regional Hospital.

She said: “Michael James McDonagh wishes to have his complaints investigated.”

Det Sgt O’Hagan said this aspect of the investigation is being followed through.

Insp Kennedy told McDonagh: “You don’t get along with your family and that is why you assaulted Michael McDonagh.”

McDonagh said: “I do get on with my family. My brother was hitting me with a 36-inch goalie’s hurley and he doesn’t play hurling.”

Ms Godfrey said: “Michael McDonagh cracked open the head of my client, causing injury to his back and sides and my client in self-defence may have defended himself.”

Ms Godfrey said that as part of bail conditions, he could reside in Ennis with his sister, Rose Joyce.

Insp Kennedy said the address was not suitable as the Joyce family is feuding with members of the McDonagh family at Ballymurtagh. Ms Godfrey said this was not the case and McDonagh said: “I am not involved in any feud.”

Judge Joseph Mangan refused bail and remanded McDonagh in custody to reappear before Ennis District Court next Friday.

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