Independent Councillor Jackie Healy-Rae and his brother Kevin have been given suspended jail sentences of eight months and seven months respectively, following their conviction at Kenmare District Court of assaulting a man in Kenmare, Co Kerry over Christmas in 2017.

The two men, of Sandymount, Kilgarvan, are sons of Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae.

They were convicted along with a third man, Malachy Scannell, of Inchinacoosh, Kilgarvan, of assaulting an English visitor to Kenmare during which he was punched in the face half a dozen times.

Mr Scannell was given two sentences of six months in jail, which were also suspended.

Judge David Waters said there was no doubt that all three would have been going to jail were it not for the fact that they had no previous convictions.

All three had been socialising together in Kenmare on 28 December 2017.

Trouble started when they went for fast food in the early hours of the following morning.

Kieran James, 30, who was on a visit from the UK to his cousins in Kerry, told the court that Kevin Healy-Rae jumped the queue at a chip van, declaring that this was his town and his chip van, before pushing him.

Mr James said his brother Jackie caught him in a headlock and he was unable to breathe.

Mr James said he, his wife Lauren, and others in his party left when the assault finished, but were followed up Main Street by the two Healy-Raes and Scannell.

He said Jackie Healy-Rae caught his arm behind his back and punched him, and the other two joined in.

He said he was punched in the face half a dozen times. His nose was bleeding, he had a cut over his eye and torn ligaments in his shoulder.

Mr James' wife said his face was swollen and disfigured. She said he was almost unrecognisable.

All three defendants denied the charges against them.

Their barrister, Brian McInerney, said the Healy-Rae brothers acted in lawful self-defence in an unprovoked attack.

He said Scannell had no involvement.

In garda interviews, read to the court, Jackie Healy-Rae claimed scuffles were already in progress, first when he went to the chip van and later on Main Street.

He said he restrained a man by grabbing him in a headlock when he saw him lunging at his brother at the chip van, and, on Main Street, he tried to break up a scuffle involving the same people and his brother Kevin.

Kevin Healy-Rae said the whole thing started over politics, with people making derogatory remarks about his father, and that people all over the country hate his family. He said he hit nobody and was, in fact, assaulted himself.

Scannell told gardaí he was not involved and did not touch anybody.

Judge David Waters said the evidence of Mr James was quite compelling and, contrary to what the two Healy-Raes and Scannell had said, all three were together in a group, running up Main Street, where they assaulted Mr James.

Judge Waters said the case turned on the credibility of civilian witnesses and he had found Mr James to be entirely credible.