Three years jail for Donegal man who tried to take detectives gun at republican parade

A Donegal man who tried to take a detective’s gun after being arrested at a republican commemoration parade has received a three year jail sentence.

Pat Barry, a member of Republican Sinn Fein, was highly intoxicated at the annual Wolfe Tone memorial march to Bodenstown, Kildare. When stopped by a member of the Special Detective Unit he became abusive and was arrested but not handcuffed.

As he was about to be put in a cell in a garda station he repeatedly punched the detective and tried to grab his gun from its holster before being restrained. The detective suffered permanent jaw injuries and was out of work for three months.

Barry (56) of St Bridget’s Terrace, Bundoran pleaded not guilty to assault causing harm to Detective Garda Rory Sheriff at Naas Garda Station and threatening and abusive behaviour on Main Street, Sallins on June 13, 2010.

He was convicted on both counts in April at Naas Circuit Criminal Court. He has three previous convictions for assault, dangerous driving and refusing to give a breath test.

Judge Leonie Reynolds, sitting at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, suspended the last six months of the three year jail term on the condition that Barry be of good behaviour for three years from the date of his release.

Prosecuting counsel Orla Crowe BL told the court that the march was being monitored by the Special Detective Unit and was passing by peacefully. Det Gda Sheriff spotted Barry in a very drunk state and asked him his name.

Barry began abusing the garda and refused to give his details. A crowd gathered around and Det Gda Sheriff said he felt Barry was “inciting” them. He went to arrest him but Barry became extremely aggressive.

The detectives didn't have any handcuffs but managed to get him in the back of a garda van which took him to the station. As Det Gda Sheriff was bringing him into the cell area, Barry turned around and punched him in the face.

He continued to punch him about the head and face as the garda tried to restrain him. At one point he made a grab for the garda’s firearm but Det Gda Sheriff held it in its holster.

Other gardai came to help and Barry was pepper sprayed and eventually handcuffed.

Det Gda Sheriff suffered two broken teeth and a damaged jaw and shoulder. He had to receive surgery on his jaw and shoulder and missed three months of work. He said he also incurred €4700 in medical bills but the court heard this will be covered by the Garda Compensation Board.

He said his wife was pregnant at the time and had to care for him. He added that the injuries to his jaw are permanent and he can no longer chew on the left side.

Defence counsel James Kelly BL said he had no submissions to make but handed in three references for Barry, including one from Philip McGlynn, Chairman of Bundoran Town Council.