Belfast Telegraph

O'Hare caged ahead of sentencing for assault

By Alison O'Riordan

Former INLA member Dessie O'Hare, who was known as 'The Border Fox', told gardai he was employed by a businessman to evict an employee and his family from his home, Dublin's Special Criminal Court has heard.

The three-judge court was also told during O'Hare's sentence hearing yesterday that the employee pleaded with him to be given a few days to leave his property voluntarily but the defendant refused, saying: "Get out right now."

O'Hare (62), of Slate Rock Road, Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh, admitted last January to assaulting John Roche, causing him harm at The Towers in Saggart, Co Dublin, on June 9, 2015.

He also pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning Martin Byrne at Rathcoole and Saggart on the same date.

The non-jury court was asked to take two counts of falsely imprisoning Mr Byrne's wife and son into consideration.

At yesterday's hearing detective superintendent Colm O'Malley said Martin Byrne was employed by James Mansfield Snr for almost 20 years and had provided security for him and his extended family.

James Mansfield Jnr took over the running of his father's business and the portfolio of properties included a block of apartments called The Towers.

Mr Mansfield Jnr was having difficulty reacquiring control of the apartments at The Towers, which was not under the control of Nama.

Mr Mansfield Jnr could not convince Mr Byrne to let him acquire his interest in the tower block in May 2015, and their relationship deteriorated. Mr Byrne and his family lived in two units at The Towers during this time.

They met at a business park on June 9, where O'Hare and another man, Declan Duffy, were waiting in a room.

Mr Mansfield Jnr left the room and five other men came in and Mr Byrne was "blocked off" from leaving.

Mr Byrne was told in "no uncertain terms" that he and his family had to vacate The Towers before he was brought to the courtyard of the building and placed into a car by the men.

Mr Byrne pleaded with O'Hare to give him a couple of days to leave his home but the defendant refused and said: "Get out now", before he was placed in a car.

Three cars drove in convoy back to The Towers and Mr Byrne was assaulted by the men in the car until they arrived at the gates of The Towers. O'Hare was in a different car at the time.

Following this, John Roche came to the gate and was asked to open it but he refused to do so and ran into the complex.

Some of the other men went to look for Mr Roche and found him in a nearby house. Five men including O'Hare dragged Mr Roche from his house and kicked and punched him on the ground. CCTV footage of the assault was shown to court.

Men can be seen bringing Mr Byrne's wife and his son past the scene of the assault and towards the complex gates. Mr Roche and Mr Byrne were then brought to the same apartment but a resident at The Towers saw what was happening and made a 999 call to gardai who soon arrived, said Mr Costelloe. O'Hare and the other six men fled the scene at this point, the court heard.

O'Hare returned to Northern Ireland but went back to the Republic and presented himself to gardai in January 2018.

The three members of the Byrne family have since been placed in the witness protection programme, the court heard.

O'Hare was remanded in custody until April 11 when he will be sentenced.

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