alleged assault | 

Veteran barrister says notorious criminal ‘threatened to kill me and burn my home’

Alan Toal (60) said that after his assailant left, he discovered his Porsche, which had his wig, gown and briefcase in the boot, had been stolen

Patrick Irwin (left) and Alan Toal (right)

Barrister Alan Toal yesterday. The lawyer supplied an eight-page statement to gardaí. Photo: Mark Condren


A lawyer has broken his silence over his alleged assault and the theft of his car by a ­former client.

Veteran barrister Alan Toal (60) said his assailant threatened to kill him and burn down his home if he made a complaint to gardaí.

Mr Toal said despite the alleged threat, he had no hesitation in making a statement to gardaí. He said that if such behaviour was tolerated it would “erode the entire fabric of the criminal justice system”.

Convicted drug dealer Patrick Irwin (40) is being sought in connection with the alleged incident a fortnight ago.

Mr Toal did not name Mr Irwin, but the Sunday Worldhas learned gardaí are investigating claims the criminal headbutted and punched him in the restaurant of the Bridge House Hotel in Tullamore, Co Offaly, on August 18 before fleeing in the barrister’s Porsche Panamera.

They are also trying to establish how the alleged assailant would have known Mr Toal was at the hotel at the time.

Neither Irwin nor the car have been located to date.

The Sligo criminal Irwin was released from prison in 2018 after serving 10 years for drug dealing and assaulting a garda.

He was previously represented by Mr Toal, who has acted for defendants in serious crime and gangland cases during his 30-year career. The barrister also represented Irwin’s former girlfriend Deirdre Moran (36), who served three years for transporting a gun for the criminal.

Mr Toal had a consultation with clients at the hotel on the morning of August 18 and afterwards went to the premise’s restaurant, at which point it is alleged he was attacked.

“I was viciously confronted and assaulted by a notorious criminal alleging that I had been avoiding him over the past several years, amongst other matters, none of which were true, rather delusional,” he said in a statement to the Irish Independent.

“I sat, stared and smiled at this person as he assaulted me and assured me that he would kill me and burn my house in the event that I made a complaint of his behaviour to the gardaí. These were not vacuous threats.”

The High Court heard earlier this week that Mr Toal was receiving garda protection ­following the incident.

The barrister said that after his assailant left, he discovered his car, which had his wig, gown and briefcase in the boot, had been stolen.

“Notwithstanding the threat to kill, I immediately contacted the gardaí in Tullamore whose detectives arrived in minutes.”

Mr Toal said he provided them with an eight-page statement about what transpired.

Barrister Alan Toal yesterday. The lawyer supplied an eight-page statement to gardaí. Photo: Mark Condren

“I had no hesitation or fear in making the statement as I believe the actions of this person and the threats made, including the theft of my car had crossed a line as between legal professionals and those they represent, which, if accepted, will erode the entire fabric of the criminal justice system and those who ply their professional skills within it.”

He said he had a duty to his colleagues and the judiciary “to ensure, as best as I can that an incident of this nature is never allowed to occur again”.

Mr Toal said: “In those circumstances I will, in the event that this matter goes before the courts, give my evidence as both complainant and as a barrister indifferently of the threats made or as to whether they are carried out.

“In other words, I will not back down nor will I allow, after 30 years at the Bar, younger members of the Bar to be put in fear that in the event of them acting for someone they may run the gamut of some similar retribution in the years following.”

The barrister’s statement came after he publicly identified himself as the victim of the alleged assault in High Court proceedings against the Beacon Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for a spinal and nerve condition.

He claims he was barred from the hospital earlier this year without valid reason after representing an anaesthetist who raised “extremely serious matters” which have been denied by the private hospital and its CEO Michael Cullen.

The court was told that as a result of this, he was unable to access his medical team there following the Tullamore incident. The Beacon is expected to file a response to his claims.

Today's Headlines

More Irish Crime

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos