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Threatened neighbour in windfarm argument

A 48-year-old Ballycarney man who threatened to kill or cause serious harm to a neighbour in a row over turbines on an adjoining windfarm has been given a 12-month suspended sentence.

Aidan Kehoe, of Craanrue, Ballycarney, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, pleaded guilty before Judge Thomas Teehan at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court to making a threat to Henry Chamney on January 26, 2011.

Sgt Ray Heffernan told the court that there is approximately 18 turbines on a windfarm erected adjacent to the home of the defendant. He said that on January 26, 2011, the defendant, who is a licensed firearm holder, drove into Mr. Chamney’s yard in a very agitated state. At the time there was a shotgun in the car and there was a threat made to Mr. Chamney.

Sgt Heffernan also told the court that the shotgun was on the seat of the car. At the time the defendant showed four cartridges to Mr. Chamney which had a serious affect on him. He also said that Mr. Chamney alerted gardai to the incident. As a result the gardai went to the home of the defendant who voluntarily handed over the firearm.

This was the backdrop to an ongoing dispute, said Sgt Heffernan, adding, that it was the result of noise eminating from the turbines.

The defendant, said Sgt Heffernan, is married and a farmer. He is a neighbour of the injured party. Sgt Heffernan also said that this particular incident led to a further incident with a John Kenny when certain threats were issued. He also threatened Mr. Kenny.

‘In relation to the turbines they were on for three days prior to the incident,’ added Sgt Heffernan, who described the defendant as a sheep farmer, while at the time of the incident would have been engaged in lambing. Defence Counsel, Sinead Gleeson, B.L., told the court that on the occasion her client would have been engaged in the lambing season which would have deprived him of sleep as he would have been on call 24 hours a day. He was under some pressure workwise.

During his interview he repeated several time that he had no intention of doing anything with the firearm. The firearm was not loaded at the time. He snapped and the frustration got to him. Since this incident he had received counselling and continues to receive counselling.

Ms. Gleeson said there were some slight concerns expressed in relation to the defendant that something similar could happen. She asked the court to give some undertaking in this regard.

Aidan Kehoe, defendant, in evidence said he regretted what had happened. He said there should be no concern that there would be a repeat.

Ms. Gleeson also told the court that noise had been eminating from the turbines which disturbed the defendant. He had no intention of using the firearm and does regret what had happened. He undertook to the court that he would never let it happen again. She also said that no proceedings were issued in relation to the turbines but the defendant did receive some compensation which was prior to this incident.

Describing it as a very unfortunate incident, Judge Teehan said the defendant had expressed remorse. He hoped that nothing like this would happen again and that certain salutary lessons had been learned.

He imposed a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, on the defendant entering a bond to keep the peace for that period.