A Dublin bus driver convicted under the Incitement to Hatred Act following remarks he made to a Gambian man, has been fined £900 and told that he must liase with the probation services for a year. Gerry O'Grady, a driver for 18 years, told a Gambian man earlier this year to go back to his own country. He is the first person to be convicted under the anti-racial laws.

When Matthew John boarded the 66 bus in May last year, driver Gerry O’Grady told him that he could not eat on it, that we do not eat on buses in this country and to go back to where he came from. Two other witnesses claimed that he used the term 'nig-nog'. Mr O’Grady, was convicted for actions likely to stir up hatred and for common assault on another passenger who he threatened with a cash dispenser. As his conviction under the Incitement to Hatred Act is the first of its kind in the state, sentencing today was setting a precedent.

Before sentencing, the court heard that Mr O’Grady had one previous conviction of assault causing harm. But his own solicitors handed in testimonials from his parish priest and told the court how he was looking after his 90-year-old mother, two sons and his daughter. He has also had health difficulties in the last ten years.

Matthew John was reluctant to speak after the verdict but he said that he would not be taking the bus again. Mr O’Grady will now face an internal hearing in Dublin bus.