editorial image

A SENIOR Customs officer has claimed abuse she and her colleagues encountered in Inishowen in May 2010 was the worst she ever experienced in 40 years, even worse than when working along the South Armagh Border.

At a special sitting of Carndonagh District Court on Wednesday Rebecca Hanlan, from Brooklyn Cottages, Greencastle, was convicted of assaulting Revenue official, Padraig O’Laoire, whilst they had been seizing her mother’s northern registered jeep on 19th May 2010.

Ms Hanlan and her mother, Margaret Davern, had been involved in a high profile five hour stand off with Revenue officers in the Lidl car park in Buncrana the day before the seizure at their home in Greencastle.

Due to the high profile nature of the stand off, and the large crowd of people gathering to watch the events unfold, Head Customs officer, John Heffernan, said he had to make the decision to withdraw from the area “for the safety of his officers”, who, he felt, could be “under threat”.

This, he said, led to himself, Patricia McCormick and Padraig O’Laoire, to arrive at Ms Davern’s property at 5:45am the next morning where they witnessed the Lexus jeep parked in the driveway.

After obtaining a warrant, at 1.05pm that day Mr. O’Laoire, along with four other Customs officers, entered Ms Davern’s property to seize the unregistered vehicle.

Speaking in court Mr. O’Laoire said he went to the side of the house where he saw Rebecca Hanlan and VRT campaigner, Ryan Stewart, exit the property.

He said: “I approached her [Hanlan] and asked if she was in charge, she replied shouting obscenities at me calling me scum and a ba***rd.

“After this I saw Rebecca run around the vehicle which was parked in front of the house. I walked towards the back of the car, and as I did I felt a thump on my back, I turned around and saw it was Rebecca Hanlan who had hit me.”

Mr. O’Laoire said he was continuously abused by the two women who had joined Ryan Stewart sitting down on the driveway behind the vehicle.

Continued on page 17