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Birthday party organised by gran during lockdown ‘got out of control’, court told

Around 40 people were in attendance at Kathleen McDonagh’s home at Childers Road, Ennis
Stock photo

Stock photo


A birthday party organised by a grandmother during lockdown for her one-year-old grandson “had got out of control” by the time gardaí called to the family home close to midnight, a court has heard.

Around 40 people were in attendance at Kathleen McDonagh’s home at Childers Road, Ennis, at 11.50pm on February 15 last year when gardaí called.

The country was adhering to Covid-19 Level 5 lockdown restrictions at the time when a ban on the staging of house parties was one of a range of restrictions in place aimed at halting the spread of Covid-19.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Alec Gabbett asked Tara Godfrey, defending McDonagh: “Did the 40 people get Covid-19 is the question?”

In response, Ms Godfrey said: “I have no idea on that, Judge, and I haven’t any information about any difficulty or outbreak arising out of this gathering at all.”

Ms Godfrey pointed to a statement made by Garda Barry Comber, who attended the home on the night. He said: “It was evident that the homeowner, Kathleen McDonagh had no control of the gathering taking place.”

The solicitor said: “Ms McDonagh confessed to organising a party to celebrate her grandson’s first birthday. The party had got out of control and she didn’t have any control over it and that was the difficulty.”

McDonagh (49) pleaded guilty to organising an event in breach of Covid-19 health regulations.

Judge Gabbett imposed a €200 fine on the mother of two.

In the incident, gardaí arrived at the McDonagh home at 11.50pm after responding to a report of a large gathering and loud music at Childers Road.

Garda Inspector David Finnerty said gardaí arrived to discover loud music coming from the rear of the home and looked around the back and saw a marquee erected in the back garden of the property.

The inspector said Kathleen McDonagh arrived at the door and told gardaí she was having a party to celebrate her grandson’s first birthday.

Insp Finnerty said gardaí told her of numerous noise complaints and said she was breaching then Covid regulations by having a large gathering of people.

A total of 12 partygoers left the home at 12.05am and a further 23 went at 12.15am.

The inspector said a Fixed Charge Penalty Charge (FCPN) issued to McDonagh remained unpaid prior to court.

Insp Finnerty confirmed McDonagh has no previous convictions.

Ms Godfrey said her client has never created any problems, has led a very quiet life altogether and has never been in trouble.

The solicitor said Ms McDonagh, who has two children aged 28 and 20 and two grandchildren, apologises for holding the event.

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