A personal trainer has been given a six-month suspended sentence for attacking a dogwalker and his pet during a series of unprovoked attacks in Dublin.
Aidan Mulkearn, aged 49 and now considering the priesthood, pleaded guilty at Dublin District Court to animal cruelty and assault causing harm to the pet's owner at Winetavern Street, in the city centre's south side, on the morning of September 13, 2020.
He also admitted four other attacks on men over three weeks. None of the victims were known to Mulkearn, of South Circular Road, Dublin 8, who suffered from anger issues and had a psychological report.
Judge Gerard Jones heard how Mulkearn kicked a 41-year-old man's dog, but the pet owner challenged him. The dog owner "received one punch in the face", leaving him with a bleeding lip. However, he did not require medical attention.
He also pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to two men. He shouted "threatening abuse" at a victim sitting outside a cafe on August 21 at Harrington Street. Mulkearn then punched him above his eye. He punched another man in the face at South Circular Road on September 14.
He also entered guilty pleas to two other daytime attacks at Harrington Street. However, they were less severe assaults that did not result in physical injuries.
A victim said the defendant "punched him in the face and wrestled him to the ground" on August 24. Another man told gardaí he had been walking along the street when the defendant shouldered him and stated, "watch where you are going, you f*****g f*****t".
Judge Jones noted the accused received a two-year suspended sentence last week for other assaults around the same time. He had no convictions before these offences.
Pleading for leniency, defence solicitor Paddy McGarry said his client had anger issues. He attended counselling when he was in his 20s due to earlier problems. After falling out with family, he moved into a log cabin he built in the garden but later became homeless for a time.
He had worked as a labourer and became a personal trainer but was now thinking of joining the priesthood. The solicitor said that Mulkearn, who did not address the court, wanted to be ordered to engage with psychosocial services.
During the attacks, he wrongly believed the injured parties were hostile to him and "reacted defensively to things where there is not an issue at all".
Judge Jones imposed a six-month sentence but suspended it on condition that Mulkearn did not re-offend in the next two years.
He told him he was a lucky man and warned Mulkearn to leave people alone. He added that he would go straight to prison if there were any further offences.