Paul McGrath Ashamed Of Drunken Family Wedding Outburst

Paul McGrath Ashamed Of Drunken Family Wedding Outburst

Former Republic of Ireland international Paul McGrath has admitted he is extremely ashamed of himself after pleading guilty to public order offences during a drunken outburst at a family wedding.

The troubled ex-soccer star said he can not remember the incident during which he was arrested, just over two weeks ago, after a drinking binge at a hotel in Tullamore, Co Offaly in the Irish Republic.

Garda inspector John Lawless said McGrath was drunk, acting in a disturbed manner and attempting to get into two parked cars at the Tullamore Court Hotel when staff called police to the scene on June 29.

Judge Alan Mitchell said he was taking into consideration that the former Manchester United and Aston Villa defender is a "national hero" and "one of the greatest soccer players in Ireland".

The judge asked the troubled ex-footballer if he would coach local children in order to escape prosecution.

Dressed in a black suit, black open necked shirt and brown shoes, McGrath stood up in the hot, packed Midlands courtroom as some of his fans watched and replied: "Yeah, I'll do it. No problem."

Solicitor Donal Farrelly told Tullamore District Court that McGrath, 53, suffers a debilitating disorder, whereby he suffers acute anxiety during social occasions.

To deal with the affliction, he usually avoids such events or is chaperoned by his agent or a friend.

During the family wedding, his agent could not make it and "left to his own devices" he had a couple of drinks to help him cope with his trauma, but continued to drink all day Friday and into Saturday, the court heard.

Mr Farrelly said McGrath, a separated father of six children who is also a national newspaper columnist, could not remember his drunken outburst and was extremely ashamed of himself.

The public humiliation was all the more painful because of his fame and McGrath finds it very difficult to deal with, he added.

The court was also told of McGrath's five previous convictions, including a public order offence, drink driving, assault, driving with no insurance and the unauthorised taking of a car.

"I am aware you are a national hero and considered one of the greatest soccer players in Ireland," Judge Mitchell said.

"Growing up myself I would have watched many of the games.

"But I was not a supporter of many of the clubs you played with myself - I was a Leeds United supporter.

"I'm also aware, as a hero, people looked up to you, and still look up to you."

The judge also noted McGrath's charitable work for cystic fibrosis and acquired brain injury organisations.


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