Cork man claimed he owned part of the election poster he disfigured

Gardaí caught a man spraying graffiti to degrade a local Fine Gael election poster on North Ring Rd in Cork – now the man has been found guilty of causing criminal damage.

Judge Olann Kelleher noted that Mark Byrne, of Summerstown Grove, Glasheen, was not present at Cork District Court for the case against him.

He sentenced Byrne in his absence and issued an arrest warrant for him to be brought to justice for conviction.

Shortly thereafter, Byrne, 51, appeared in court and Judge Kelleher heard his testimony.

Byrne said he was a paying member of the Fine Gael Party and as such partly owned the poster at the center of the case.

Judge Kelleher did not accept this and found him guilty of damages. He settled the case by fining him € 200.

Garda Alan Hourihan testified in the case, which involved May 23, 2019, that he and Garda Michael Nagle were queuing in traffic at North Ring Rd on that date when they observed a man spraying graffiti on an election poster .

Garda Hourihan got out of the patrol car and approached the man with the spray of black paint in his hand.

The warden confirmed that the large poster was of Fine Gael candidate Lorraine O’Neill and that it had been disfigured.

Garda Hourihan said it was not possible to read what was written except that there was a reference to a former head of Fine Gael.

“The poster, valued [at] 50 €, was again completely unusable, ”said Garda Hourihan.

As proof of the criminal damage done, Lorraine O’Neill came to court to confirm that she had not given anyone permission to degrade her poster and she also confirmed that it cost around € 50.

Ms O’Neill also confirmed that the matter was brought to her attention by Garda Hourihan.

The interview note with Byrne read: “You were caught by guards degrading an election poster on North Ring Rd. Do you accept that?” ”

He replied, “Yes.”

“Do you understand it’s illegal?” He was asked and he replied, “Yes. ”

“Why did you disfigure the poster?” He was asked and he replied, “It’s my business.”

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