Video: Aaron Connolly receives life sentence; Harris to visit Rathkeale

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Connolly receives life sentence

Aaron Connolly (23) has received a life sentence after a jury found him guilty of the murder of Cameron Reilly (18) at Shamrock Hill, Dunleer on May 26th, 2018.

Handing down the mandatory life sentence on Tuesday, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said Connolly is young enough to make some use of his life when he emerges from custody, but added the victim will “never emerge from where Mr Connolly put him on that night”.

Connolly, of Willistown, Drumcar, County Louth had pleaded not guilty to Cameron's murder.

In a witness impact statement to the court, Cameron's uncle Darren Flanagan said he was “the apple of our eye”, and said the family were served a life sentence the day he was taken from them.

Rathkeale policing

Minister for Justice Simon Harris has promised there will be "enhanced policing" for Rathkeale in Limerick over Christmas following "unacceptable" violent scenes on Monday, and it due to visit the town on Tuesday evening to discuss plans for the coming weeks with gardaí, politicians and locals.


Armed gardaí were patrolling the town on Monday night after violent incidents erupted between rival groups, leaving the town “like a war zone”, locals said.

A number of vehicles were written off in ramming incidents and machetes were allegedly produced, as gardaí sealed off a large section of the town.

"There is no place for this kind of violence in our society. I know the community in Rathkeale is rightly proud of their town and abhor these appalling acts," Mr Harris said.

Concern over Covid hospitalisations

The chief medical officer Prof Breda Smyth said she is “very concerned” about a recent rise in Covid-19 hospital admissions, and has asked people to make a concerted effort over the next four to six weeks to reduce transmission.

Prof Smyth asked people to stay at home if they have flu-like symptoms and to return to wearing masks on public transport.

She also urged members of the public to get the flu or Covid vaccine if they have not done so already.

"In the last seven days, our Covid cases in hospital have increased by 50 per cent. Currently, we have 624 people in hospital with Covid, a week ago that was 430," Prof Smyth added.

Dowdall appeal

Former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall, who is currently giving evidence for the State in the trial of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch, has launched an appeal against his jail term for facilitating the Hutch gang in the murder of Kinahan Cartel member David Byrne.

Dowdall pleaded guilty at the Special Criminal Court to making a room available to the Hutch gang at the Regency Hotel, Swords Road, north Dublin, where the murder of Mr Byrne (34) occurred in February 2016.

He had originally been charged with the murder of Mr Byrne, however the State dropped that charge after Dowdall admitted to the lesser role of facilitation.

Dowdall was sentenced to four years imprisonment on September 9, but is now appealing that sentence on the grounds of severity.

On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal set the hearing date for February 20th.

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