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Man who refused to leave St Patrick’s Cathedral in protest over ‘religious matters’ convicted

Court heard the 58-year-old acted in an aggressive manner towards staff and failed to co-operate with police

St Patrick's Cathedral Armagh

An Armagh man who refused to leave St Patrick’s Cathedral in the city following ‘a protest over religious matters’ has been found guilty of obstructing police.

Court heard the 58-year-old acted in an aggressive manner towards staff and failed to co-operate with police.

Pól Anthony Ó hAgáin, of Tullymore Downs, contested a single count of obstructing police at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

District Judge Mark McGarrity stated: “The defendant was in the building and refused to leave when staff wished to lock up, therefore the police were called.

“The defendant made it clear he had no intention to leave, he said and did things which police said amounted to a breach of the peace.”

Prosecution said: “In refusing to move he was making the task of the police more difficult. Police were also concerned because of his behaviour.

“The defendant was acting in an aggressive manner towards staff and refused to co-operate with police.”

District Judge McGarrity stated: “This was a protest over religious matters but it was his manner towards staff which warranted the attendance of police.”

Defence barrister Conn O’Neill said: “To say this was obstructing police is unfair. It is unfair to say lying outstretched is an obstruction of police.”

District Judge McGarrity commented: “He was obstructing police by being unwilling to go with them when he was instructed to.”

Mr O’Neill stated: “This is a man who lives alone, he has convictions of a different time and is at the mercy of the court.

“He has still been attending mass at the cathedral but he hasn’t come to the attention of the police since.”

Ó hAgáin was handed a conditional discharge for 12 months.

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