Thursday 27 March 2008

Quarry owner assaulted council men, court told

TWO PLANNING officers with Kerry County Council were assaulted in the headquarters of the council by a man whose quarry had been closed down on foot of enforcement procedures taken some years previously, the District Court in Tralee heard yesterday.

Brian O'Connor (44), Moyderwell, Tralee, pleaded guilty to assaulting Kerry Barrett and Keith Parrott at Áras an Chontae in April 2007.

Supt Pat Sullivan said that at 9.45am on April 13th, 2007, Mr O'Connor entered the council offices in Tralee. He assaulted Mr Barrett by dragging him over a desk and tearing his shirt. Mr Parrott intervened and got a kick on his leg from Mr O'Connor.

Other members of the council had to restrain Mr O'Connor until gardaí arrived and arrested him, said Supt Sullivan.

Mr O'Connor had no previous convictions. His solicitor, Pádraig O'Connell, said the incident had its origins in a decision by the council to close his client's quarry "and his livelihood" in 1999.

The father of five was accompanied by his wife in court. He had at one stage been forced to live in a mobile home because of the council decision, Mr O'Connell said.

On the day in question, his client had gone there "with peace in his heart", but felt he had been treated with derision, the solicitor continued. Judge James O'Connor adjourned the matter to December 2009 and granted free legal aid to Mr O'Connor.

The Irish Times

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