Gravedigger admits damaging 16 gravestones in Ballincollig cemetery

The total cost of the damage is estimated to be around €2,500
Gravedigger admits damaging 16 gravestones in Ballincollig cemetery

Pat McSweeney outside court today, where he was charged with damaging gravestones. Photo: Michael Mac Sweeney/Cork Courts

A 63-year-old gravedigger confessed to charges of causing criminal damage to 16 gravestones at a cemetery in Ballincollig.

Pat McSweeney of Marian Terrace, Douglas Road, Grange, Cork, was back before Cork District Court where Judge Olann Kelleher accepted jurisdiction for the case and the defence solicitor, Frank Buttimer, indicated that the defendant was pleading guilty to all charges.

When he was originally charged with 16 crimes by Garda Gary Brennan he replied: “I can’t argue with that.” Sergeant Pat Lyons said there was no objection to the accused being remanded on bail as Judge Kelleher adjourned sentencing until July 13.

A medical report is to be prepared on the accused and the families who own the gravestones will be given an opportunity to prepare victim impact statements if they wish to do so.

It emerged that the total cost of damages was in the region of €2,500.

Pat McSweeney’s bail conditions – which were set after he was charged in March – require him to stay out of cemeteries in Cork city and county, except for the purpose of a family funeral should this arise. Other bail conditions require him to reside at his home address, notify gardaí of any change of address and sign on at Togher garda station on Mondays and Fridays.

The 16 charges are contrary to the Criminal Damage Act and refer to alleged criminal damage caused to 16 different gravestones at St. Mary and St. John’s Church, Station Road, Ballincollig, County Cork, on Saturday, March 13.

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