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Bomb threat woman pleads guilty to harassing priest

A 57-year-old Dublin woman who sent obscene phone messages threatening to bomb President Michael D Higgins and several Government ministers has pleaded guilty to harassing a priest.

Anne Fennell, of Monastery Gate Green, Clondalkin, today pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to two counts of harassing Fr Desmond Byrne by any means, including telephone, at Woodford Drive, Clondalkin, on October 8, 2006 and between October 5, 2005 and January 10, 2006.

Last week, Fennell had her sentence for sending obscene phone messages adjourned so she could continue with her psychological therapy.

The court heard that on one occasion Anne Fennell had referred to President Higgins as a “ladyboy” and on another told the receptionist that “the President and Sabrina Higgins would go home in plastic bags if they set foot on English soil”.

She made repeated threats to bomb the president over a number of phone calls in April 2014 and again in October the same year.

The court also heard that the entire area around Dáil Éireann had to be searched on November 18, 2014, when Fennell called to say there would be a bomb at the main gate.

The parliamentary usher who took the call later told gardaí that Fennell, a former An Post worker, had hung up “screaming”.

She pleaded guilty to making persistent annoying phone calls and sending obscene or menacing phone messages to Aras an Uachtarain, the Department of Finance, the European Commission Representation, An Post Dublin Mail Centre and the constituency offices of TDs Alan Kelly, Aodhán O Ríordáin and Noel Coonan between February 2 and December 1, 2014.

Today, Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned the harassment sentence hearing until July and remanded Fennell on continuing bail.

The judge also directed that a victim impact statement be prepared.

Aoife Nic Ardghail   

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