Former Limerick senator sentenced for threatening to kill neighbours

Former senator James Heffernan.

A FORMER Labour Senator who admitted threatening to kill two of his neighbours and causing €3,400 worth of damage the three cars has been sentenced to a month in jail.

James Heffernan (43), of Main Street, Kilfinan, pleaded guilty in Kilmallock District Court to two counts of threats to kill against his neighbours, brothers Patrick and Greg Ryan, between February 27 and April 5 last.

He also pleaded guilty to damaging three vehicles belonging to the brothers and causing €3,405 worth of damage.

Judge Patricia Harney, presiding at Kilmallock Distrct Court, heard that Mr Heffernan was pleading guilty and had compensated the inured parties in full for the damage.

She handed down a one-month sentence and suspended it for 18 months.

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The court heard that the former senator has 33 previous convictions, including for offences of assault, theft, drink driving, and public order.

Mr Heffernan was a primary school teacher by profession and a graduate of University of Limerick.

He was a Labour candidate in the 2007 General Election for the Limerick West constituency, and a member of Limerick County Council from 2009 to 2011 for the Kilmallock local electoral area.

He also was a candidate in the 2011 General Election for the Limerick constituency, and was elected to the 24th Seanad in April 2011 on the Agricultural Panel for the Labour Party.

He lost the parliamentary Labour Party whip in December 2012 after voting against the government on the Social Welfare Bill.

In February 2015, he claimed he was forming a new political party in order to oppose Sinn Féin.

In September 2015, the Social Democrats announced that Heffernan was one of their five election candidates and remained with the party for a year.