Judge commends local hero

A ‘have-a-go hero’ was praised by District Judge Barney McElholm for his “sturdy disposition” and his “civic minded attitude to anti-social behavior” this week,

District Judge Barney McElholm was speaking to an injured party, Diarmund McLaughlin, who had gone to the aid of a man who was allegedly being racially abused and attacked in Brooke Park last July.

Two men face charges in connection to the incident. James Nash of 76 Altcar Park and Ciaran McElhinney of 226 Cornshell Fields appeared at the local Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

McElhinney pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly behaviour. Nash was in the dock facing two charges of assault, possessing an offensive weapon - namely a glass bottle - obstructing police, threats to kill, disorderly behaviour and assault on police.

The court heard how police were tasked to an “ongoing assault” on a foreign national on July 17.

Defence counsel for McElhinney said: “It was a case of when the drink’s in the wit is out. I would ask your worship to treat this as a one-off.”

In dealing with the guilty plea to disorderly by McElhinney, District Judge McElholm said: “There are some nasty, abusive and racist comments said here. Mr. McLaughlin seems a man of sturdy disposition who won’t back down when threatened. He is to be commended in his civic minded attitude to anti-social behaviour. He stood up for his area and his neighbour. I send him my congratulations in this case.

“In Ireland we shout racist remarks to people seeking work and since Irish people have done this [travelled abroad] for centuries it is particularly nasty and inappropriate to talk to immigrants in this manner.

“Many Irish have suffered racist abuse and discrimination in other countries when another culture here will only enrich our own. I don’t like this or what was shouted.”

The judge had been passed a transcript of the abuse which was shouted but a solicitor for the prosecution declined to read it into the record due to its nature. Pre-sentence reports were ordered. Nash is to appear before the Magistrate on March 10 and McElhinney on February 28.