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Meet the man who can't have a pint until 2007; BARRED FROM ALL PUBS IN IRELAND.

Byline: NIALL MOONAN

THIS is the man banned from every pub in Ireland until Halloween 2007.

Settled Traveller Mick McDonagh, 49, spoke yesterday of his "ridiculous" court penalty after being convicted of assault and public order offences.

He told the Irish Mirror: "It's pure torture. A killer wouldn't even get this."

Unemployed McDonagh was hit with the hefty ban in Tullamore District Court, Co Offaly, last Wednesday. It means he can't enjoy a pint with family or friends in any Irish pub for three years.

Judge John Neilan told his defence lawyer Donal Farrelly: "If he's not happy he can appeal to the Circuit Court."

Father-of-six McDonagh was given an 11-month jail term when he appeared for sentence on the two charges last Wednesday.

He assaulted his sister after a pub row in January and a month later pushed a female Garda and threatened to blow her head off.

But the judge decided to suspend the prison sentence and instead banned McDonagh for entering any bar in the Republic.

And he said: "I feel it is obligatory to put down a marker for Mr McDonagh."

But McDonagh added: "It's ridiculous, there's no sense in it at all. My friends think I'd be better off if I did do jail, that way I'd be able to go into a pub after the 11 months.

"My grandson is being christened in Tullamore next month so I can't even go to that. Christmas is coming and my family will be home from England with the kids.

"It's shocking that I can't even go into my town for a pint."

Guinness drinker McDonagh will now have to content himself with drinks in his friends' houses.

He has considered appealing the ban to the circuit court - but hasn't got the /800 needed to fund another case.

McDonagh who lives in Tullamore's Ardan View Estate, was stunned when Judge Neilan made the ruling - despite a plea by his solicitor.

The case arose out of an incident earlier this year in which McDonagh was involved with a row with his sister last January. The court heard he was also involved in a disturbance at Tullamore Garda station the following month.

He explained added: "Me and my sister Anne had a disagreement in a pub. It happened out of the blue and it was a mistake. I hit her in a temper. It all started off in a pub, the next thing she left, went home and I followed her back to the house.

"When I hit her I realised I'd done something wrong. I haven't spoken to her since but it should never have happened. Then the month after, I went to the police station and had a row with one of the gardai over the fight with my sister.

"I told [the female Garda] I'd blow her head off but I apologised to her later and said I didn't mean it. I'm not normally a man for challenging the law, it just happened.

"In court I apologised to the garda and I told my sister she had no fear of me, I pass her by in the street and she passes me.

"One of the only places I can drink now is at home and that's something I don't so much anyway.

"My wife Mary is teetotal as well so there's not usually drink in the house. I just have a fear now of walking into any pub, you're afraid someone might phone the guards. It's not worth taking the risk."

A court service spokesman said: "This is a rather unique ruling."
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 20, 2004
Words:596
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