“Even though I said Jerry: ‘Stop, what are you doing?’ He just kept on hitting and hitting me with it and calling me a southside bastard”
Jeremiah Long (67) said he carried out the outrageous assault on retired taxi driver Thomas O’Connell over a disagreement between their children — who were of primary school-going age at the time — more than 20 years ago.
Long, who received a six-month suspended sentence after being convicted of assault causing harm to Thomas, replied: “I’m not going to answer that,” when asked by this newspaper if he was sorry for what he’d done.
Our reporter also asked if this was an end to the matter.
“There’s no more to it now,” Long replied.
“That’s it. It’s over now as far as I’m concerned…
“Unless he wants to come down and call me out there, then we can do a Rocky on it.”
Earlier, we called in to Thomas — who lives just three doors up from Long — and he told us he was upset that he hadn’t been informed in advance that the case was going to court.
“I wanted to go to court and tell the judge what he did to me that day,” he said.
“But I didn’t find out it had already happened until it was already in the paper.
“And what came out in court was all wrong.
“They said in court there was tensions between the two of us but I haven’t spoken to that man in 22 years.
“And I know it was that long ago because my daughter is 34 now.
“She was 12 when there was an argument between her and his daughter and we haven’t spoken since.
“There was nothing between us since then — there was no reason for him to do this to me.”
Recalling the details of the horrifying attack which took place on April 28 of this year, Thomas said: “I was coming back from the shops and he was lying in wait for me.
“I was carrying my messages when he came at me from behind a car with the handle of a shovel and started flaking me like sh*t.
“He called me a ‘southside bastard’ and just kept hitting me.
“He flaked me with it all over.
“I put my hands up to cover my head.
“I was only after an operation on my head and if I got hit there I would have been killed that day.
“But everywhere he hit me, he did damage.
“My hands were left covered in gashes, my knee was swollen up like a balloon and my arm was cut and bruised up to my elbow.”
Asked if he could recall how many times he’d been hit, Thomas said he couldn’t remember exactly but he’d guess at least 15.
“He wouldn’t stop,” he said.
“Even though I said Jerry: ‘Stop, what are you doing? I never did anything to you.’
“He just kept on hitting and hitting me with it and calling me a southside bastard.
“There was blood on the cars over there and the messages were thrown all over the place.
“I was hit that much that I didn’t even realise until later that evening that my knee was swollen up like a balloon.
“I was watching the telly and, when I got up, I couldn’t move it.
“So I lifted the leg up and it was then I saw the blood was pouring down from it.
“When I went up to the hospital, I had to get plaster straps all along my arm and elbow and all along the insides of my hands.
“And all that for what?
“All for no reason at all!”
Thomas said he is still not fully recovered from his injuries and had intended on making the court aware of this, but was never given the opportunity.
“The guards never told me it was going ahead,” he said.
“They told me it was coming up but they were supposed to come back to me with a date.”
Asked for his reaction to the sentence, Thomas told us: “I thought it was a joke … a pure joke.
“I only found out what happened in court at 10pm that night when my wife’s sister sent us a picture showing an article about it in the paper.
“Nobody told us anything.”
When he appeared before Cork District Court, Long, of St Enda’s Road, Gurranabraher, Cork admitted the offence of assault causing harm to Thomas.
Judge Olann Kelleher remarked: “The injured party is 76 years old. Do you realise the effect it had on this man?
“He feels unsafe now. He used to walk around with his grandkids and great-grandkids.
“He does not feel comfortable since this.”
Emma Leahy, defence solicitor, said: “The defendant is 67 … he is on medication for his mental health and under the care of his general practitioner.”
Judge Kelleher imposed a sentence of six months which he suspended on condition that the accused would keep the peace for the next two years.
A condition of the suspension is that Long is to have no contact — direct or indirect — with the injured party.