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Drunk attacks Oscar Wilde statue in Galway with a crutch


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Drunk attacks Oscar Wilde statue in Galway with a crutch Drunk attacks Oscar Wilde statue in Galway with a crutch

The iconic bronze statues of Oscar Wilde and fellow writer Eduard Vilde – sitting together on a granite bench on William Street – came in for a bit of a bashing from a crutch-wielding drunken man last July, Galway District Court heard last week.

Gardaí arrived at the scene at 5.15pm on July 31 last, and noticed Wilde was receiving the most attention from former businessman Michael Reilly’s crutch.

Reilly, who has been living in a caravan in Deerpark Industrial Estate, Oranmore, and is currently serving a nine-month prison sentence imposed for breaking windows at his former business premises appeared before Galway District Court via video link from Castlerea Prison.

A charge of him breaching the peace, by engaging in threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour near the statues was withdrawn by the State, following Reilly’s eventual plea of guilty to a second charge of being intoxicated in public on the day.

Reilly appeared confused as to why he was in prison at all when the video call to the prison began and had to be reminded by his solicitor, Gearóid Geraghty, he got the sentence in September for criminal damage and public order offences.

He also reminded Reilly with regard to the charges before the court this week, that he had been swinging a crutch at Oscar Wilde’s statue on the date in question.

“You were attacking Oscar Wilde’s statue repeatedly with a crutch,” Mr Geraghty told Reilly.

“Was it a moving statue? I don’t know if it was a moving statue,” Reilly asked, eliciting a ripple of laughter from the packed courtroom.

“Maybe you thought it was moving,” Judge Mary Fahy said.

She advised Reilly that if he were to plead guilty to the intoxication charge, then perhaps, the State would withdraw the more serious charge of breaching the peace.

Sergeant Stan O’Grady, prosecuting, agreed to do that.

Mr Geraghty assured Reilly the intoxication charge did not carry a prison sentence and the judge would not add to the nine-month sentence he was currently serving if he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.

Reilly said he wanted to get out prison and was advised by the judge he could appeal the sentence he was currently serving to a higher court.

She told him he should take the advice of his solicitor regarding any appeal.

Reilly finally agreed to plead guilty to the intoxication charge following further assurances from the solicitor and judge that his stay in Castlerea would not be extended.

The judge then fined him €100 for being intoxicated on the day, directing he serve two days in prison in default of payment.

“I’ll be appealing it [the nine-month sentence]. I’ll have the money outside the courthouse. Thank you very much Mary,” Reilly said.

“I’m getting too old for all this,” Judge Fahy quipped once the video call ended.

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