Things got weird on Aer Lingus 110 from New York’s JFK to Shannon, Ireland back on November 14, 2014. Around 4:45 am local time, some twenty minutes before the plane was to touch down, passengers in the cheap seats of the 757 heard a disturbance coming from the business class cabin.
Dolores O’Riordan was freaking out. Badly.
The Cranberries’ singer was yelling about…something. A flight attendant was trying to calm her down but Dolores would have none of it and began to get violent, stomping down so hard on the stew’s foot that she broke it.
The pilot radioed ahead that there was trouble. When the plane landed, police were waiting for Dolores. And that’s when things got ever weirder.“
YOU CAN’T ARREST ME! I’M AN ICON! I’M THE QUEEN OF LIMERICK! YOU DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH. I PAY MY TAXES SO I PAY YOUR WAGES AND I AM GOING TO SUE!
Dolores, who is quite petite, was described as being “quite irrational, quite aggressive, quite difficult.” When they wrestled her into the back of a patrol car, she began banging and kicking all over the place, maybe trying to break the windows. When the cops opened the door in an effort to settle her down, she escaped, resulting in a foot chase. Once she was caught, she gave the officer a serious headbutt.
Dolores was taken to jail where she began singing and shouting from her cell. A doctor was called in who immediately requested that she be transferred for St. Patrick’s Psychiatric Hospital where she was diagnosed as being paranoid and delusional, genuinely mentally ill. She stayed in hospital for three weeks.
When the double assault trial finally went to court in December 2015, she pleaded guilty to charges of air rage. She doesn’t remember a thing about what happened, but she didn’t deny that it did.
Dolores has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and the stress and sleep deprivation she’d been suffering before the flight triggered an episode. She’d just separated from her husband of 21 years, was still dealing with the death of her father and had spent the last several weeks living out of a suitcase–all of which conspired to set off her hypomania.
Sentencing in the case was handed down yesterday. She was ordered to write letters of apology to all those involved plus pay a fine of about €6,000, which must go to a fund that prepares prisoners for their release. The judge went on to say that Dolores had a “very severe medical illness which completely inhibited her judgment.” But he also said, “Let me be utterly clear that the defendant is not being treated any differently than anyone else.”
By the way, there’s an upcoming Ongoing History of New Music show on the subject of alt-rock, air rage and other things aeronautical. And yes, this story will make the cut.