Man imprisoned for threatening autism activist Fiona Pettit O’Leary gets bailed again
Eamonn Deegan, who already has six convictions for knife possession was sentenced to 10 months in late July, but was bailed after lodging an appeal
Ali BrackenSunday Independent
A man imprisoned for threatening to harm an autism rights activist and her children has been bailed once more, leaving the woman “frightened for the safety of her family”.
Eamonn Deegan (55) of Springfield Court, Celbridge, Co Kildare, was sentenced to 10 months in late July for a sustained campaign of harassment in the form of phone calls and social media threats over a number of years to Fiona Pettit O’Leary.
He was bailed after lodging an appeal. Deegan, who already has six convictions for knife possession as well as various drugs offences, was barred from sending abusive messages to Ms Pettit O’Leary and other women online as part of his bail conditions.
But he breached this within weeks in an online outburst in which he referred to Ms Pettit O’Leary as “lefty trash”. He was imprisoned three weeks ago in connection with this. But on Friday two weeks ago, he was granted bail again ahead of his appeal to be held on October 6.
The Sunday Independent recently revealed Deegan is under criminal investigation for abusing and threatening other women, including one woman whose child had died only the week before. Some of the women are now making garda statements.
The campaign of harassment began for the West Cork activist in 2016 when she was running as a candidate in the general election. It culminated in a series of phone calls in 2019. Among the threats Deegan issued were: “I’m coming to your house. I know where you live, you ugly c***. I f**king despise you.”
Ms Pettit O’Leary said she feels “very let down” by the criminal justice system and is “shocked” that Deegan has now twice been bailed, despite being in breach of bail conditions. “I’m disgusted with the legal system. And genuinely frightened. Eamonn Deegan has a wide network of far-right friends who are racist and target vulnerable women and children online. Eamonn Deegan is not just a danger to me. He is a threat to society.”
If Deegan fails in his appeal on October 6, his 10-month jail term will be reactivated.