Brigid Scanlon made death threats against Tusla workers
A CARLOW woman who made a live-stream video on a social media platform in which she threatened to kill a social worker was sentenced in Carlow Circuit Court last week. Bridget Scanlon, 14 Dolmen Heights, Carlow pleaded guilty to threatening to kill the social worker on 20 November 2020, when she made a video on Facebook at that address.
Ms Scanlon (49) had appeared before Kilkenny Circuit Court two weeks ago, when she was sentenced for threatening another woman who worked for Tusla, and last week evidence was heard about her threats against the second social worker.
The court heard that Ms Scanlon had first met this particular social worker in 2005 because of family matters and that in 2020 Ms Scanlon was “very annoyed” about decisions that Tusla had made.
In the video that lasted 25 minutes, Ms Scanlon said: “I’ve a bullet for you, I’m coming to get you and shoot you in the face.”
A transcript of the video was read out in court, in which Ms Scanlon said that she would “do a life sentence for you”, and addressing the social worker by name asked “how would you feel without your own two children?”
Ms Scanlon’s video also included allegations about people in authority, such as judges, solicitors, gardaí, social workers and council officials, being in collusion with one another, and called other people paedophiles and said that children were being put into the care of paedophiles. She also said that her own brother had been “stolen” by the authorities when he was young.
The social worker, a woman, made a victim impact statement to gardaí in which she said she was “genuinely frightened” by Ms Scanlon’s threats because Ms Scanlon “didn’t appear to care anymore and was not afraid of going to prison”. She continued in her statement that Ms Scanlon “appeared fixated by her” and that Ms Scanlon had said she knew where the social worker lived and mentioned her children, too.
The woman said that the threats had deeply impacted her life, that she was cautious about where she parked her car or walked in Carlow town and that she had to leave work for a period of time because she was so afraid.
Detective Garda Niall Moloney told the court that Ms Scanlon had 37 previous convictions and that her most recent sentence was handed down the previous week on 27 February, when she was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment with 18 months suspended for threatening to kill another social worker.
Ms Scanlon represented herself in court and Judge O’Kelly told her that while she had the right to defend herself, he was not “prepared to listen to a speech about Tusla”.
“I’ve already listened to this rant,” he said, referring to the transcript of the video. “Were you sober?”
He said that Ms Scanlon’s allegations about people in authority being paedophiles and other allegations were “nonsense” and that she’d included “practically everyone” in the allegations. He also pointed out to her that she had apologised for her actions when she was interviewed by gardaí, and in court Ms Scanlon said that she was sorry for making threats against the social workers.
Judge O’Kelly then sentenced Ms Scanlon to two-and-a-half years, which he suspended for the same period, upon her release from her current prison sentence of 18 months. She also entered a bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two-and-a-half years upon her release and to keep away from the two social workers that she had threatened to kill.