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Dublin: 9 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019
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An underage Irish sportswoman was racially abused and punched on a bus last year

The assault occurred on 3 October 2018.

The incident took place on a bus last year.
The incident took place on a bus last year.
Image: Shutterstock/Med Photo Studio

A DUBLIN MAN racially abused and punched one of Ireland’s best underage sportswomen on the chest on a bus last year, a court has heard. 

The girl of colour, aged 15 at the time of the assault, represents Ireland in team and individual sports. She was returning home by bus last October from a sports event when assaulted by father-of-three, Padraig Delaney (39) of Glenhill Rd, Finglas, Dublin 11.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Carol Ann Coolican said she was disgusted by the facts around the incident on 3 October 2018.

In her victim impact statement, the secondary school student – now aged 16 – stated that Mr Delaney told her on the bus at Bunratty: “I should be shot like the rest of us making a shooting gesture with his hands. He then made a racist comment and I asked him ‘What did you say?” and he then hit me.”

The teen – who can’t be named by order of Judge Coolican – stated “after he hit me a young man saw what he had done and attacked him”.

Accompanied to court by her two parents, the Co Clare teenager said that the bus driver then called the gardaí.

In her victim impact statement, the girl said that as a result of the attack: “I have been hesitant to use public transport and this has put tremendous pressure on my parents to bring me everywhere I have to go for training matches and competitions for the multiple sports I participate in.”

Judge Coolican said: “No one should have to put up with this behaviour. He kicked out at her, made a shooting gesture with his hand and then made a racist comment before hitting her.”

The judge said that the girl and her family have had to re-adjust their lives because of the incident and not use public transport.

Giving an outline of the facts, Sergeant Aiden Lonergan said that Mr Delaney was drunk and kept putting his feet on the teenage girl’s lap on the bus and she repeatedly pushed his feet off her lap.

Sgt Lonergan said that Mr Delaney racially abused the girl with a comment and punched her in the chest at Bunratty.

Mr Delaney pleaded guilty to the assault of the girl on the date.

Solicitor for Mr Delaney, John Casey said: “Mr Delaney wishes to apologise for the incident.”

Mr Casey stated that the father-of-three had taken sleeping tablets and alcohol resulting in him being very disorientated.

Mr Casey said that Mr Delaney has recollection of the incident.

Mr Casey said that when Mr Delaney learned what he said and did to the girl, “he was upset at himself, ashamed of himself, embarrassed by his actions on the day”.

Mr Casey said that Mr Delaney “has lived with, socialised with and worked with people of colour and he would consider that a number would be his friends and this has caused him extra upset because he says he has no racist bone in him and he doesn’t know where this came from. The community he lives in in Dublin is a very mixed community.”

Mr Casey said that Mr Delaney, who is a qualified cabinet maker, hasn’t drank alcohol since. 

Judge Coolican ordered Mr Delaney to pay the teenager €1,000 in compensation and adjourned the matter to 22 January for a Probation Report.

Judge Coolican told the girl: “I wish you the very best in all of your sporting activity into the future.”

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Gordon Deegan

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