A birthday party organised by an Ennis granny for her one year grand-son “had got out of control” by the time Gardai called to the family home close to midnight, a court has heard.

At Ennis District Court,  Insp David Finnerty told Judge Alec Gabbett that around 40 people were in attendance at Kathleen McDonagh’s (49) home at 21 Childers Rd, Ennis at 11.50pm on February 15th last year when Gardai called.

The country was adhering to Covid-19 Level 5 lockdown restrictions at the time when a ban on the staging of house parties was one of a range of restrictions in place aimed at halting the spread of Covid-19.

Judge Gabbett said to solicitor for Ms McDonagh, Tara Godfrey “did the 40 people get Covid-19 is the question?”

In response, Ms Godfrey said: “I have no idea on that Judge and I haven’t any information about any difficulty or outbreak arising out of this gathering at all.”

Ms Godfrey pointed to a statement made by Garda Barry Comber who attended the home on the night and Garda Comber said “it was evident that the home-owner, Kathleen McDonagh had no control of the gathering taking place”.

Ms Godfrey said: “Ms McDonagh confessed to organising a party to celebrate her grandson’s first birthday. The party had got out of control and she didn’t have any control over it and that was the difficulty.”

Ms McDonagh pleaded guilty to organising an event in breach of Covid-19 health regulations and Judge Gabbett imposed a fine of €200 on the mother of two.

In the incident, Gardai arrived at the McDonagh home at 11.50pm after responding to a report of a large gathering and loud music at Childers Rd.

Insp Finnerty told Judge Gabbett that on arrival, Gardai discovered loud music coming from the rear of 21 Childers Rd and looked around the back and saw a marquee erected in the back garden of the home.

The Inspector said that Kathleen McDonagh arrived at the door and told Gardai she was having a party to celebrate her grand-son’s first birthday.

Insp Finnerty said that Gardai informed her of numerous noise complaints and explained to her that she was breaching then Covid regulations having a large gathering of people

Twelve party goers left the home at 12.05am and a further 23 exited the home at 12.15am.

Insp Finnerty said that a Fixed Charge Penalty Charge (FCPN) issued to Ms McDonagh and remained unpaid prior to court.

Insp Finnerty confirmed that Ms McDonagh has no previous convictions and Ms Godfrey said that Ms McDonagh has never created any problems, has led a very quiet life altogether and has never been in trouble.

Ms Godfrey said that Ms McDonagh has two children aged 28 and 20 and two grand-children and apologises for holding the event.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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