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When the Sunday World called to O’Reilly’s home this week to see if he wanted to apologise for the attack his wife said he still does not accept the guilty verdict.
A FORMER GAA star who was convicted of assaulting a 75-year-old journalist still does not accept he was in the wrong or want to apologise, his wife told the Sunday World this week.
Ex-Cavan footballer Eddie Óg O’Reilly (43) was convicted earlier this month of an assault on journalist Ray Managh in the Four Courts, which a judge described as a “disturbing” attack on press freedom.
O’Reilly still has a number or days left to decide whether he wants to appeal the conviction to a higher court.
Self-employed builder O’Reilly had been badgering Mr Managh not to report on a bank repossession case before he “lost it” and “viciously” attacked the veteran journalist in a lift and stole his notebook on May 11, 2018.
Remorseless O’Reilly, from Kilcogy, Co. Cavan, pleaded not guilty to the attack but was found guilty by Judge John Hughes who characterised as “delusional” O’Reilly’s evidence that he was terrified for his life of Mr Managh and news photographers chasing him through the streets of Dublin.
O’Reilly received a nine-month suspended sentence after being convicted of assault causing harm at Dublin District Court just over a week ago.
He was also fined €2,000 and ordered to complete an anger management course while on supervised probation.
The judge also ordered him to pay €3,000 in compensation, which Mr Managh requested be paid to the Crumlin Children’s Hospital cancer research unit.
Despite escaping a custodial sentence, O’Reilly remains unrepentant about the attack and is sticking to his “delusional” version of events.
When the Sunday Worldcalled to O’Reilly’s home this week to see if he wanted to apologise for the attack his wife said he still does not accept the guilty verdict.
“There’s definitely another side to the story,” she added.
O’Reilly’s wife passed on our request for an interview to him, but he did not get back to us.
O’Reilly who also has US citizenship went to the States after the attack where he worked in construction but was arrested at Dublin Airport when he returned to Ireland in 2019.
The trial had been delayed a number of times for administrative reasons and was once again delayed late last year when O’Reilly’s legal team looked for another adjournment as their client said he was suffering from “stress and anxiety” as a result of the case.
The assault took place in the Four Courts after O’Reilly appeared in court trying to prevent repossession of a €500,000 investment apartment which he and his brother Michael had got into arrears on.
The civil case heard the brothers had paid back just €300 on the loan in seven years after getting into arrears.
After that hearing, Eddie Óg followed Mr Managh out of the court and badgered him not to report on the case.
When told “no”, he shouldered the journalist, then 75, into a lift and violently pinned him against the walls until he could get his notebook, the court heard.
Ray Managh, who is now 80, told Judge Hughes he worked as a journalist for 63 years and covered courts for multiple national news organisations and had never experienced what happened to him that day.
Judge Hughes described the attack as disturbing and sneaky. “The reporting of civil and criminal cases goes back hundreds of years and is a valuable function in society and needs to be protected,” he said.