The Garda Public Order Unit, also known as the riot squad, had to be drafted in from Dublin following what was described as an “interfamilial dispute” in Trim, Co Meath, at 5.30am on March 18, 2019.
The court heard gardai arrived to a scene of absolute carnage, with blood on the ground, people with various injuries and weapons including shovels, golf clubs, wheel braces and car jacks scattered around.
Judge Orla Crowe described what happened as “extraordinary” and “disgraceful” before handing down 18-month suspended sentences to all seven involved.
The court heard there had been trouble brewing between two connected sets of McDonagh families in the Castle Meadows area of Trim, which spilled over from the St Patrick’s Day celebrations and exploded into violence at 5.30am the following morning amid heavy consumption of alcohol.
On one side of the dispute were grandparents Terry (54) and Margaret McDonagh (54) and their sons John (25) and Martin Gerard (30), while on the other side were brothers Paul (39) and Timmy McDonagh (25), as well as another relative, Patrick (33).
The court heard Martin Gerard was married to Paul and Timmy’s sister, Christine, and the families normally got on.
When gardai arrived, the people involved dropped their weapons.
“There was blood on the footpath, people with facial injuries, golf clubs, wheel braces, car jacks. No one made any complaints,” the court heard.
“Gardai from Navan, Kells and Trim [attended the scene] and the Public Order Unit were brought from Dublin to patrol the estate for 24 hours.”