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Four Courts, Dublin
Four Courts, Dublin
Image: Shutterstock/Semmick Photo

Businessman and ex-GAA star accused of attacking journalist on duty at Four Courts

He appeared at Dublin District Court this afternoon.
Oct 23rd 2019, 10:53 PM 41,878 0

BUSINESSMAN AND FORMER Cavan Gaelic football star Eddie Og O’Reilly has been charged with attacking a journalist at the Four Courts.

The 40-year-old with an address in Co. Cavan is accused of assault causing harm and theft of a notebook from veteran court reporter Ray Managh.

He was remanded in custody with consent to bail on condition of a €5,000 lodgement, following a hearing before district court president Judge Colin Daly today. 

Mr Managh, a well-known journalist, covers the Circuit Civil Court and High Court actions for multiple national news outlets. He had been reporting on civil proceedings involving Mr O’Reilly when the assault and theft is alleged to have happened on 11 May last year.

Builder O’Reilly was arrested today at Dublin Airport after he returned from the United States where he had been living for the past year with his American wife and their young daughter.

He appeared at Dublin District Court this afternoon. The former footballer pleaded for bail saying he intended to stay in Ireland and wanted to “clear my name”.

Garda Michael McGrath told Dublin District Court Mr O’Reilly was arrested at the airport at 7.50am and conveyed to the Bridewell Garda station where he was charged with the two offences.

Garda McGrath said the accused’s reply to charge after caution was “no comment”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had directed “summary disposal” so the case should be dealt with at district court level.

In relation to the theft charge, Garda McGrath said it was alleged the reporter’s notebook was stolen. The statement of complaint, in relation to the assault charge, was handed in to court.

Judge Daly accepted jurisdiction for the case to be heard at district court level.

‘Clear my name’

There was no CCTV evidence of the alleged assault or theft but there was footage prior to the alleged incident, the court heard. Judge Daly ordered disclosure of the prosecution’s evidence to the defence.

Garda McGrath objected to bail on the grounds of flight risk. He said the accused was married to a US national and his wife and child were there. He feared that if granted bail Mr O’Reilly would go back to America.

The journalist had been covering a civil case at the Four Courts which the accused had been a party to, Garda McGrath said.

Defence counsel Conor Burke put it to him that his client and his family had been living in America but planned to move back to Ireland. His solicitor had been in contact with the Garda regarding the investigation after a number of messages were left, the court was told.

Garda McGrath agreed that he spoke to the accused a day before he left and at that stage there was nothing forcing him to remain in the jurisdiction.

Counsel submitted his client had an address and a business in Ireland and did not have a job in America. He was willing to stay here until the matter was concluded, he added.

Mr Managh told the court he suffered severe shock and his shoulders were injured in the incident. He went to a medical clinic, had X-rays, was given pain killers and needed a sling, he said.

Pleading for bail, Mr O’Reilly told the court he was moving back to Ireland with his family and intended to stay.

“I am here to clear my name,” he told Judge Daly during the hearing. He denied he was a flight risk and added that he had left because it had been a “difficult time”.

The former inter-county footballer said he remained connected to the GAA and has family in Ireland.

His barrister argued that his client was not a flight risk, would abide by bail terms, and would surrender his passport.

Judge Daly set bail in his own own bond of €2,500 and required a cash lodgement of €5,000. He said that this was to ensure he remains in the State, to demonstrate the strength of his connection to the jurisdiction and his commitment to meet these charges.

Counsel said his client will contest the case but was not in a position to take up bail yet.

Judge Daly remanded him in custody with consent to bail to appear at Cloverhill District Court on 30 October next.

The judge wanted a list of his assets before deciding whether or not the self-employed builder was entitled to legal aid.

He also has to surrender his passport and sign on regularly at his local garda station and have no contact with the journalist if bail is taken up.

A date for the hearing, which will be a non-jury district court trial, will be set later.

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Tom Tuite

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