Longford crime boss avoids jail for violent feud related attack on pregnant woman’s home
CCTV footage was played before Judge Keenan Johnson at a sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court
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A feared midlands crime boss has been handed a four year suspended prison term for targeting the home of a “terrified” young mother in a violent feud related attack while she was 33 weeks pregnant.
Thirty-nine-year-old Denis McGinley of Laurel Avenue, Longford was the fourth person to be convicted and sentenced for violent disorder over an incident at Dun Darragh, Dublin Road, Longford on May 7, 2018.
McGinley was convicted just days after flying back into the country from the Netherlands upon the completion of a four year jail term for his involvement in a major international fraud racket.
The Longford mobster was jailed after being found guilty of swindling victims out of €250,000, the results of which left a 76-year-old woman penniless.
Three other members of the McGinley family, Christy (23), Hugh Patrick (48), both of Glack, Longford and Patrick McGinley (22), 5 Glack View, Longford were all handed four year prison terms, suspended for ten years after the gang smashed up the home of mother of five Tracey Donohoe and her husband Denis.
The court heard how McGinley was arrested by arrangement at his Longford home last weekend and brought before a sitting of Longford District Court on Monday on a signed plea.
Garda Shane O’Connor said the incident could be traced back to the shooting dead of a member of the McGinley family at a wedding in Co Fermanagh in 2015.
Longford man Barney McGinley (63) was shot dead outside St Mary’s Church in Newtownbutler on February 11, 2015 in an incident which three years later led to the convictions of a father and son for a total of seven and half years.
Garda O’Connor said the more recent episode occurred at the Donohoe family home when a brother in law of victim Tracey Donohoe was visiting the home of a McGinley family member when a row erupted.
He said there was a subsequent “call out” for a straight fight between the two families, which was declined by the Donohoe’s in a move that culminated in their home being effectively smashed up in a daring broad daylight attack.
CCTV footage was played before Judge Keenan Johnson at a sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court which showed four men pulling up in a white 4×4 jeep.
McGinley, who is a cousin of Mrs Donohoe, was identified as the vehicle’s front seat passenger armed with what the court heard was a metal bar covered by a coat.
Seconds later, the three other co-accused could be seen smashing the two storey dwelling’s front living room window and door, causing €1,750 worth of damage in the process.
It was revealed McGinley at that stage shouted a number of threats at Mrs Donohoe, telling her that he was going to shoot her husband.
In a desperate bid to run for cover, Mrs Donohoe ushered her four other children through the house and towards a back garden, but as she did so the heavily pregnant Longford woman slipped and fell on broken glass.
In a telling victim impact statement, read out by Garda O’Connor, Mrs Donohoe told of how she was unable to address the court personally as she and her family still live in fear of future attacks.
“The sound of glass breaking is still ringing in my ears,” she said, adding she was forced to later spend a night in hospital out of concern for her unborn child.
“The glass sprayed in on top of us, it was so frightening.
“My home has become a place where I no longer feel safe for me or my family.
“We were victims of an unprovoked attack that had nothing to do with us. I had so many sleepless nights because of ye.
“None of you have ever once said sorry to me or my husband Denis. The only thing that your family have said to us over and over again was for me and Denis to drop the charges, that it was only a bit of glass.
“Your family have sent several messages looking for us to withdraw our statements.
“You have told us to tell the court that we didn’t see ye, but no, it’s time your bullying stops once and for all. Your family are not the law.”
Garda O’Connor said gardaí were concerned about the feuding between both families, something he said was “simmering at present”.
In defence, Niall Flynn BL, said his client played somewhat of a lesser role in the level of violence witnessed on the camera footage, a fact borne out by his 25 second long presence at the scene.
McGinley, himself, took the stand and said he had since cut off contact with certain members of his own family over the feuding.
“I would like to apologise for the actions I caused and any hurt and harm I caused to her family,” he said.
Judge Johnson replied, saying there was an incredulous irony in the fact McGinley saw fit to attack the home of an expectant young mother while he, himself, was father of five children.
He said the constant flow of feud related activities in Longford was a “blight on its landscape” and warned both McGinley and others of the consequences which awaited them should any further reprisals take place.
“Let the message go out loud and clear, if there is any further re-offending by any of the parties involved, they will be dealt with by an immediate custodial sentence by this court.
“It’s just intolerable that this type of behaviour should go on in this day and age.”
He consequently handed down a four year prison term, suspending its duration for a period of ten years.
He was also ordered to pay €6,000 in compensation to be divided between Mrs Donohoe, St Vincent de Paul and St Christopher’s School.