Desmond McGrath, a father of 7 who thought he was attending a job interview and took part in a violent forced eviction at The Round Towers, Saggart, Dublin, has been jailed for 3 years.
Mr McGrath along with seven men including INLA kidnapper Dessie “The Border Fox” O’Hare and convicted murderer Declan Duffy, falsely imprisoned and tried to evict a family from their home.
“dressed almost like a bouncer”
When McGrath was arrested, he told Gardaí that before he arrived at the scene, he had been attending a job interview as a security guard. The court also heard that Mr McGrath was dressed like a “bouncer” for that reason at the time of the offences.
At a hearing, Garda sergeant Eamon O’Neill told Garret Barker BL prosecuting, that on the date in question, Mr Byrne had attended an office in which Dessie O’Hare was present. They were then joined by five other men, including McGrath.
It was there, that Mr O’Hare told Martin Byrne that his services were no longer required and that he had to immediately vacate the property. Mr Byrne had been a security guard for 25 years, and was living at that address as part of his employment arrangements.
Mr Byrne said that if he was given 24 hours, he could get his belongings and family out of the property. This offer was rejected. Mr Byrne also said that the men surrounded him, before grabbing and bundling him into a car against his will.
“Say a prayer”
Having arrived at the property, the gates would not open. Mr Byrne had been told that he would be brought to “another place” if he did not open the gates. Fearing for his safety, Mr Byrne suggested that the men drive through the gates, which they did.
Mr Roche who had also been working as a security guard, went to the gates to see what was happening. It was then, that the men started kicking and punching him, before stepping away.
Mr Byrne pleaded with the men to let his family go, who were living in the property. O’Hare is understood to have remarked “say a prayer” to him. He was then brought into one of the adjacent properties. They put him into a chair and hit him in the head several times. Gardaí also arrived at the scene, the men including O’Hare and McGrath threatened to put a “bullet” in his head, if he did not get rid of them.
Gardaí could see Mr Byrne’s injuries, and his distressed family. The 7 men left and were later arrested.
“Level of violence” by McGrath
When passing sentencing, Judge Karen O’Connor said that the offence was aggravated by the “level of violence” against the security guard as well as the impact the attack had on the victim’s family.
The judge also added that McGrath’s guilty plea, remorse along with his difficult background and battles with drug and alcohol addiction, were mitigating factors.
She sentenced the McGrath to 4 years imprisonment, with the last 12 months suspended on strict conditions.