Dissident bail altered over election bid (UTV)

The District Judge at the Magistrate’s Court in Derry has varied the curfew conditions imposed on a dissident republican to enable him to canvas for the forthcoming local government elections in May.

Gary Donnelly, 43, from Iniscarn Road in the Creggan area of the city intends to stand as an independent candidate.

He is on court bail charged with causing criminal damage to a section of the ‘Walls of Derry’ overlooking the Bogside by painting political slogans on them on 2 February of this year.

As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered or observe an 8pm to 8am curfew.

In court on Thursday, solicitor Paddy MacDermott applied to District Judge Barney McElholm to vary the curfew hours otherwise he said his client’s ability to canvas during the campaign would be seriously interfered with.

However, the application was opposed by a police officer who said the applicant had 29 criminal convictions, six of them for assaulting police officers, six for public order offences and one for arson.

He said one officer stood for two minutes and observed the applicant from a distant of ten feet not only painting slogans on the walls, but encouraging others to do so as well.

The officer said the Northern Ireland Environment Agency priced the cost of removing the paint from the walls at £2,292 and he said that money would have to come out of the public purse.

He said the applicant had made no offer in relation to reparation.

“He wants to stand in elections for a civic office and for a position which involves uprightness and integrity,” the officer said.

Mr MacDermott said the applicant’s canvassing would involve him knocking on peoples’ doors late at night.

The District Judge interjected saying “bothering them, I would not answer the door to any of them.”

He added: “Is he going to put up posters or paint on walls saying ‘Vote Donzo?’ It is clear the democratic process is very dear to Mr. Donnelly’s heart.”

Mr McElholm varied the curfew hours by two hours, now from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m, and said in the event of a public meeting outside those hours, the applicant would have to give the police 48 hours notice.


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