Donegal judge hits out at level of drinking among young unemployed

A judge yesterday hit out at the shame of young people without jobs finding money to drink and then carrying out assaults in towns across the country.

Judge John O’Hagan was dealing with two brothers who smashed a man’s face in a Christmas holiday attack outside a Ballyshannon chipper after a night on the drink.

He said that not just at Christmas, gardai had a nightmare from Thursdays to Sundays picking up young people who were usually out of work spending what money they could get on drink and then doing this kind of thing.

Judge John O Hagan said that in towns all over the country robberies and burglaries were a minuscule part of the sort of crime the courts had to deal with.

He said County Donegal had an additional problem as, more than any other county, young people drove cars at speed and endangered life.

Brothers Daniel and Joseph Devanney, of St Benildus Avenue, Ballyshannon, admitted assault, causing harm at Donegal town Circuit Court to Richard Matthews, a 37-year-old man with a young family.

The court heard the brothers attacked him over a misunderstood comment outside a chipper on December 28, 2010.

The judge noted that Mr Matthews, who works on an oil rig off Norway, told gardai he underwent an operation for a fractured cheek-bone and a broken nose. He never regained the feeling in the top right hand side of his face and as a result was unable to tell when he was biting on food. He felt uncomfortable since the assault in his own home town.

26-year-old Daniel Devanney, who had 12 previous convictions that included jail terms for assault, was jailed for two years.

23-year-old Joseph Devanney, who had seven previous convictions and was described as a minor player in the assault on Mr Matthews, was given 240 hours community service in lieu of two years jail.