Cork man involved in feud between two families wins sentence appeal after 'tensions subsided'

Accused men, who were caught with slash-hooks, knives, pikes, crow-bars and hurleys in May last year, have jail sentences suspended
Cork man involved in feud between two families wins sentence appeal after 'tensions subsided'

Jim Keenan had his four-month jail term suspended at Cork Circuit Appeals Court
while Michael Keenan had his eight months increased to 10 months but this was also suspended. Picture: Larry Cummins 

Two men appealing jail terms for their part in a feud between two families on the streets of Cork — where they were caught with a truck loaded with weapons — have succeeded in their appeals as the judge imposed suspended sentences instead.

The appeal was adjourned from January to see how matters between the families would proceed.

Barrister Alan O’Dwyer said tensions between the parties were at an end and there had been no further difficulties between them.

Judge Helen Boyle commented at Cork Circuit Appeals Court that it was a serious matter meriting prison sentences for the parties and that she agreed with the sentences that had been imposed originally at the district court.

Judge Boyle said on Friday: “This was a very serious offence on the streets of Cork and it caused fear in the parties who had to witness it. I don’t disagree with sentences imposed in the district court.

“But I understand that tensions between the parties have subsided.” 

Jim Keenan had his four-month jail term suspended while Michael Keenan had his eight months increased to 10 months but this was also suspended.

In respect of Michael Keenan and evidence in mitigation that was put before the court in relation to his family’s dependence on him, the judge said: “The last thing your family need is you behaving in this way. You will go to prison [if there is a recurrence] and leave them in a difficult position.” 

Last October at Cork District Court, an eight-month jail term was imposed on 38-year-old Michael Keenan of 1 St Michael’s Close, Mahon, who also has an address at 17 Wolfe Tone Street.

A four-month sentence was imposed on 22-year-old Jim Keenan of 1 Ravensdale Close, Mahon, Cork.

'Serious dispute'

Judge Olann Kelleher said at the sentencing hearing in Cork District Court, “This was a very serious dispute on May 9 [2021] where slash-hooks, knives, pikes, crow-bars and hurleys were carried in a truck.

“And they said they were more or less entitled to carry them because they were in a dispute.

“The fact that things have eased off in this feud does not mean they can get away with it, especially in a case where children were present in the area.” 

The judge added he was concerned with the safety of all of the community and not just the concerns the defendants had for their own families.

Both defendants pleaded guilty on one charge of being in possession of a weapon on May 9 last year.

Sergeant Pat Lyons said gardaí responded to a call about a serious incident involving a dispute between two families. While investigating this report, they stopped the vehicle in which the defendants were travelling.

Detective Garda Paul Radley arrested the defendants back in May last year and testified that gardaí stopped a pick-up truck at Mahon interchange, in which the defendants were travelling. 

It was alleged a slash-hook and a knife were found in the front of the truck and in the back were found two pikes, two hurleys, one crow-bar and one pickaxe handle.

Michael Keenan replied when charged with weapons offences in May that these were for work purposes. Jim Keenan said: “We have to protect ourselves.”

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