On one occasion, Anne Fennell, 57, referred to President Higgins as a “ladyboy” and on another told the receptionist that “the President and Sabrina [sic] Higgins would go home in plastic bags if they set foot on English soil”.
She made repeated threats to bomb the President over a number of phone calls in April 2014 and again in October the same year.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court also heard that the entire area around Dáil Éireann had to be searched on November 18, 2014, when Fennell called to say there would be a bomb at the main gate. The parliamentary usher who took the call later told gardaí that Fennell, a former An Post worker, had hung up “screaming”.
Fennell, of Monastery Gate Green, Clondalkin, Dublin, pleaded guilty to making persistent annoying phone calls and sending obscene or menacing phone messages to Áras an Uachtaráin, the Department of Finance, the European Commission Representation, An Post Dublin Mail Centre, and the constituency offices of TDs Alan Kelly, Aodhán Ó Riordáin, and Noel Coonan between February 2 and December 1, 2014. She has no previous convictions.
Superintendent Michael Cryan told Elva Duffy, prosecuting, that Fennell apologised to gardaí when they arrested her after tracing the calls to her mobile phone.
She said she had been reacting to news stories on television and told officers she was “lonely”. She added that her threats were “just words”.
Supt Cryan said Fennell revealed that she rang Dáil Eireann weekly to complain about various issues.
Supt Cryan described how Fennell had phoned the Department of Finance on February 26, 2014, “ranting and raving” and threatening to bomb President Higgins if he went to Britain.
She threatened the EU Commission with a bomb in March if Europe did not “lay off” Cyprus and its economy.
On November 17, 18, and 19, 2014 she called Mr Kelly’s Nenagh office and threatened him and his family.
She claimed that a previous bomb threat had been a “dry run” and that she would “put a bullet in [Mr Kelly’s] head”.
She also phoned the office of Mr Ó Riordáin in November 2014, threatening to blow up his car.
Mr White submitted to Judge Melanie Greally that his client was “deeply, deeply regretful for her behaviour” and offered no excused for it. He said she had a poor but good childhood, had once been in a relationship, and had worked with An Post for 11 years.
He asked the judge to give his client a chance, adding that the public interest lay in her rehabilitation. Judge Greally noted from a photograph handed to her in court that Fennell lived in “sub-human conditions”.
He remanded Fennell on continuing bail to July so that she could continue with her psychological therapy and engage with the probation services.
The judge ordered a probation and welfare report to see if any structures could be put in place to give Fennell a more “pro-social” existence, as her offending seemed due to her isolation.