Man jailed for assaults on off-duty gardaí and junior doctor in Cork City

Man Jailed For Assaults On Off-Duty Gardaí And Junior Doctor In Cork City
Paul McDonagh (25) was sentenced to three years in prison with the last 10 months suspended for assault, violent disorder and attempted robbery in Cork City. Photo: Getty Images
Share this article

Olivia Kelleher

A man who knocked an off-duty garda to the ground and then kicked and punched him when he realised his victim's occupation before going on to steal his garda badge has been jailed for 26 months.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court head that Paul McDonagh, of Fr Flynn Place, Ballymacthomas, Gurranabraher in Cork City, also assaulted a second off-duty garda in the same incident in October 2021.


Both men were on Washington Street in Cork city centre at 2.21am on October 16th, 2021, when they were set upon by Mr McDonagh, who was with number of other people.

Garda Pat Dilworth told Judge Helen Boyle that McDonagh pushed one of the gardaí to the ground.

“He knocked him to the ground and took his Garda ID badge, his keys, his mobile phone and his Apple AirPods.”

Garda Dilworth said McDonagh further “kicked and punched” his victim on the ground when he became aware that he was a garda. An attempt was also made to rob the second off-duty garda of his Garda ID and mobile phone.


The second off-duty garda was also assaulted, the court heard, however he managed to get away from his assailant.

Garda Dilworth said this was the second offence that McDonagh had committed in the early hours of that morning. Just a few minutes earlier he and a group of men had chased four nearby restaurant employees after they left work.

The restaurant employees were pursued down Grand Parade and McDonagh, who was highly intoxicated, kicked one of the men. Both incidents were completely unprovoked, the court was told.

Further assault

The court also heard evidence from Garda Dilworth of an unprovoked attack which McDonagh had carried out on a junior doctor who had been out socialising in Cork City during the Cork Jazz Festival on October 23rd, 2021.


The medic was on his way home at around 12.30am when he was set upon by McDonagh, who was with 10 youths. The young doctor managed to run to safety. However, he required stitches over his right eye.

He had been chased by McDonagh and the group but managed to make his way to his home in the Mardyke, which he shared with other junior doctors.

Garda Dilworth said that in garda interviews, McDonagh said he had a “varied recollection of the incidents” as he was highly intoxicated. However, he identified himself on CCTV footage and entered a signed plea of guilty in relation to assault charges, violent disorder charges and attempted robbery.

McDonagh has 37 previous convictions, 27 of which are for public order offences. Prosecuting barrister Imelda Kelly said McDonagh had similar convictions for violent disorder and assault which dated back to 2018 and 2019. All the incidents occurred in Cork City.


Elizabeth O’Connell SC, told Cork Circuit Criminal Court her client apologised unreservedly for his “completely unacceptable, brutish, coarse and ignorant” behaviour.

She said the 25-year-old was mature enough to understand that his behaviour was “completely unacceptable” and noted his attempts to address his addiction to alcohol. She asked that a portion of his sentence be suspended to allow him to continue to receive treatment for this dependence.

Judge Boyle described the attacks were “cowardly”.

Alluding to the incident involving the restaurant workers, she said people employed in the nighttime economy ought to be able to leave their work without being “set upon”. She added that members of the public should also be able to socialise in the city centre without being “assaulted or put in fear”.


In considering the attack on the off-duty gardaí, Judge Boyle said it was an aggravating factor that McDonagh “kept the assault going” when he realised that he was dealing with members of  An Garda Síochána.

She said the junior doctor was put in a situation of “11 people against one” when he was chased, adding that the victim was “completely outnumbered”. However, the judge noted that he had thankfully made a full recovery from his injuries.

Judge Boyle said it was a “mitigating factor” that McDonagh had signed guilty pleas, but warned him that he was likely to reoffend unless he tackled his root problem of alcohol addiction.

“Alcohol makes you violent. Unless you address your addiction to alcohol you are probably going to continue to attend,” the judge said.

Judge Boyle added that she had read the “eloquent” yet “realistic” letter submitted to the court by McDonagh's mother, who apologised for the behaviour of her son.

However, the judge emphasised McDonagh's wrongdoing was not the fault of his mother, and jailed him for three years, suspending the last 10 months of the sentence.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2023, developed by Square1 and powered by