Wexford gang leader with 151 convictions jailed after armed brawl with rival thugs
The conflict ended after one of the Enniscorthy side was left with damaged legs after he was run over by a car
Time already spent behind bars by a 30-year-old Wexford gang leader has been put to good use, the Circuit Court was told during a sentencing hearing.
Ger Connors from Rosemount, Drinagh, was brought before Judge James McCourt on a charge of affray arising from a fight on the green of an Enniscorthy housing estate.
The pre-arranged meeting of two gangs in April of 2020 involved at least eight men, according to Detective Sergeant Alan Stafford, with Connors and his colleagues travelling from Wexford Town to take on the locals.
The court was shown video footage of the hostilities at Father Murphy Park dating back to the evening of April 21, 2020 when it was still daylight.
Hurls and iron bars were produced as members of the general public went about their normal activities while the fight took place.
The conflict ended after one of the Enniscorthy side was left with damaged legs after he was run over by a car in which the defendant was a passenger.
Some of the footage was shot by a member of the public on a mobile phone and the remainder was downloaded from the security camera system at St Senan's Primary School.
The detective sergeant explained that, during the day in question, numerous text messages were exchanged arranging a fight between the factions.
The judge was told that Connors seen wearing a grey tracksuit in the videos - instigated the whole thing.
The sergeant confirmed that a man called Shane Carolan was propelled into the air by the car in which the accused was travelling.
The vehicle left the housing estate after it was driven over the legs of Carolan as he lay on the ground.
As far as the detective was aware, the injured man has since made a full recovery.
However, there were no medical reports available and Carolan never made any official statement of complaint.
The car was later found in the South Slob area, near to Drinagh where Connors lived.
The defendant, who appeared to be armed on the day with 'some kind of a long bar', pleaded guilty in response to the affray charge.
His record of 151 previous convictions was drawn to the attention of the sentencing hearing, which was attended by his mother and other members of his family.
More than 100 of these convictions arose from road traffic offences but the list also included counts of criminal damage, theft, assault and robbery.
Barrister John O'Kelly accepted that his client had been in trouble with the law from an early age, starting from 2006.
He had been in and out of prison repeatedly since he was a 14 year old.
At the age of 30, the defendant now realised that it was time for him to do something different with his life, counsel suggested.
Mr O'Kelly backed up this assertion with a list of courses undertaken recently by Ger Connors during his time in custody.
The roll call of topics studied included: alternatives to violence, peer mediation, overdose prevention, crime awareness, relapse prevention, anger management, male awareness and cooking.
He had also completed courses in advanced first aid.
Though he had entered prison illiterate, he had taken reading and writing classes which allowed him pass English in the Leaving Certificate.
This suggested determination and a change of attitude on the part of the accused, the barrister felt.
Connors's new found literacy was used to pen a letter to the court which Judge McCourt found articulate, literate and coherent, displaying some sense and insight.
However, the appalling past record of the father of two could not be ignored and nor could his involvement as the leader of a gang involved in the pre-meditated confrontation at Father Murphy Park.
The result was a three year prison sentence, with the final year to be suspended.
Connors was told that, on release, he must stay away from the Carolan clan and also stay out of Enniscorthy except when passing though en route to somewhere else.
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