*Conor & Daniel O’Halloran. 

A TULLA medical professional who bit off the top part of his brother’s left ear in a farmyard row “around land, monies and a shed” has escaped jail for the offence.

At Ennis Circuit Court, Judge Francis Comerford imposed a suspended 17 month prison term on Conor O’Halloran (42) for the “unprovoked” and “very serious” assault causing harm of Daniel O’Halloran (37) that left the younger farmer brother losing the top part of his left ear.

Judge Comerford has also directed that solicitor for Conor O’Halloran offer to pay €10,000 compensation to Daniel O’Halloran within the next three weeks.

Counsel for the State, Lorcan Connolly BL (inst by State Solicitor, Aisling Casey) said that Daniel O’Halloran is not interested in the €10,000.

Judge Comerford has also ordered as part of the conditions attached to the suspended prison term that Conor O’Halloran continue to engage in counselling.

In his victim impact evidence, Daniel O’Halloran told the court that his “ear is disfigured and I will have to live with it as a constant reminder for the rest of my life of what my brother did”.

Radiographer at a Dublin hospital, Conor O’Halloran pleaded guilty to the assault causing harm of Daniel O’Halloran on May 5th 2021 and counsel for Conor O’Halloran, Patrick Whyms BL (instructed by solicitor, Darach McCarthy) said that Conor O’Halloran has no previous convictions, has never been in court before this and has been “a model citizen” apart from this one act.

Judge Comerford said that Conor O’Halloran had led “an exemplary life” before the assault and has shown “genuine remorse”.

In a report handed into court Conor O’Halloran said, “I am sad and disgusted with myself. It shouldn’t have happened. I wish it had never gone that far. We were close at one time. I am godfather to his son and he is godfather to my daughter”.

In evidence, Garda Brian Quinn told the court that when he arrived at the farm-yard scene on May 5th 2021, he entered the farmhouse and saw Daniel O’Halloran “shirtless and the top part of left ear removed and blood down his face and down his body”.

Garda Quinn said that colleagues were with Conor O’Halloran of Rosebank, Old Bawn, Tallaght, Dublin 24 in the farm-yard and he was arrested at the scene and replied “why am I being arrested and not him?”.

In a statement to Gardaí at the scene Daniel O’Halloran said that earlier in the morning, he saw his brother and described him “as being in a rage”.

Daniel O’Halloran told Garda Quinn that Conor O’Halloran was roaring ‘Come out – we will have it’ and Conor O’Halloran took off his top and charged at his brother.

Daniel O’Halloran said that he was knocked to the ground and while on the ground, Conor O’Halloran bit off the top of his left ear.

Daniel O’Halloran was brought by ambulance to the A&E at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) and counsel for the State, Mr Connolly said that a medical report confirmed that “trauma to the left ear was consistent with a bite and tissue loss was noted”.

Daniel O’Halloran was treated and discharged the same day at the A&E. Photos of the ear injury in the immediate aftermath of the assault were handed into court and Daniel O’Halloran also turned his head in the witness box to allow Judge Comerford view the “significant disfigurement” close up.

Garda Quinn said that relations between the two brothers had deteriorated and there were “issues around land, monies and a shed”.

He said, “Matters came to a head that day.” Mr Connolly said that Conor also owned farmland in the Tulla area and these lands were being farmed by his brother.

Mr Whyms said that Conor O’Halloran works as a radiographer at a Dublin Hospital and is married with young children.

Mr Whyms said that Conor O’Halloran is hopeful that he can reconcile with Daniel but doesn’t believe it will happen in the short term.

Mr Whyms said that civil proceedings have been issued in the case and his client’s plea of guilty means that his client will not be contesting liability in the case.

In his victim impact statement, Daniel O’Halloran said “my family is broken and I have not even been told sorry once”.

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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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