Man charged for speaking Irish to police (UTV)

A man has appeared in court on anti-terrorism charges after he gave his name and address to police in Irish.

Dermot Douglas of Mellows Park in Dublin appeared in Londonderry Magistrates’ Court charged with not giving his details to the best of his ability under the Justice and Security Act on 6 March.

Defence solicitor Brian Stelfox told the court his client had come out of a house in the Creggan area of the city and had been stopped by police and gave his details in Irish.

District Judge Barney McElholm asked: “Is the sum total of this case that he gave his name in Irish?”

Mr Stelfox said the 49-year-old had “quite happily” allowed the police to search him and then had given his name and address in Irish before he was arrested.

He said while in the Strand Road police station he was offered a caution but refused to accept it “on principle” as he felt he had complied with the law.

A prosecution lawyer asked for the case to be adjourned for four weeks for further investigation, however, Mr Stelfox said he was “at a loss to see how there could be any further investigation”.

Judge McElholm said: “One wonders what would have happened if Mr Douglas had been Romanian or Chinese.”

The defence solicitor said his client felt he was entitled to have the case heard in Irish.

The judge confirmed that it could be heard in Irish as long as there was “due consideration for the public purse”.

The case was adjourned and Douglas will appear again on 1 May in order to see, as Judge McElholm put it, “if we can get this resolved”.


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