Drunk Drag Queen
A PROFESSIONAL drag queen stopped for drunk driving after a charity event told Galway District Court that he did not walk the five minutes to his home because it was not safe to do so in the city while dressed up as he was.
Eamon Cunniss, 38, with an address in Bohermore, who pleaded guilty to drink driving at Eyre Square on February 6, was later fined €500 with three months to pay and disqualified from driving for a mandatory 12 months.
Inspector Mick Coppinger told the court that at 3:17 a.m. the defendant was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving and later gave a breath sample of 43 micrograms of alcohol per 100 ml of breath.
Defense solicitor Ciara Macklin said that the loss of a driving license would have a profound affect on her client who is a dance teacher and performer, regularly traveling by car and clocking up 900 miles per week. She added that on the night in question Cunniss had been taking part in a charity event in the city.
Noting the defendant’s address, Judge Fahy asked why Cunniss did not take a five minute walk to his house. Cunniss explained that it would not have been safe for him to walk to his home in Bohermore because he was dressed as a drag queen, and that while it is acceptable to do so in Dublin it was not in Galway city.
When Fahy quibbled that he should always bring a pair of flats with him, Cunniss replied, “I do, in my handbag, but it is not very ladylike.”
The defendant, through his solicitor, asked for the disqualification to be postponed as he was due to participate in a number of charity events over the Christmas period.
Fahy then noted that it was unfortunate that Cunniss had not taken the decision to walk home to which Cunniss replied, “I had five G&Ts over the whole night, I didn’t think that would be enough to put me over. And I had a few sausages in the pub.”
“You need to be careful in future. Now when you are doing charity events you have to drink 7Up or water if you are driving,” said Fahy, who postponed the disqualification until February 1, 2012.
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Sick Boy Suffers
AN eight-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy contracted a stomach infection after his family was forced to reuse his feeding syringes because of mismanagement by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Kyle Corcoran’s mother Amy, from Graiguecullen, has to feed her little boy by tube six times a day. For the past three weeks, rather than disposing of the 60 ml food syringes each time, she has had to wash and reuse them because the HSE doesn’t have any more supplies.
“It’s not good enough. The syringes are very hard to reuse, they’re not designed to be reused. When we’re in the hospital they throw them out after every time. We can’t do that. It’s madness,” added Corcoran, whose son was born with cerebral palsy and learning difficulties.
“This isn’t the first time the supplies have been low. His syringes are special order; it takes a month to order them. He’s on them a year now. They surely know by now he needs them every month.”
Kyle’s weak immune system has suffered as a result of the HSE’s lack of supplies, and he contracted a stomach infection from the syringes.
“It’s very serious. If his infection gets bad he could be back in Crumlin Children’s Hospital. It’s so frustrating and it’s hurting him,” his mother says.
A spokesperson for the HSE declined to comment but added, “The HSE takes any complaints or concerns relating to the level of patient care very seriously.”
Freezing to Death
ELDERLY people are dying in their own homes because they can’t afford to heat them properly, according to Age Action Ireland Now, which is leading a campaign to force the government to reverse cuts to the free gas and electricity allowances for pensioners.
This shocking revelation that old people are dying from the cold emerged from research carried out by Age Action, which is appealing to people from Laois to support its stance on the issue, stressing that the cuts would cause “severe hardship” to the most vulnerable of older people this winter.
The cuts commenced in September and, as winter sets in, Age Action spokesperson Eamon Timmons described the situation as “literally a life and death issue” for hundreds of older people who will struggle to heat their homes to a safe level in the months ahead.
“While resources are tight, we all have a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable citizens from cuts which will cause harm and even death. We are urging the public to show their concern by signing the petition,” Timmins said.
Age Action used the launch of its petition to reveal new research on the impact of cold weather on older people in Ireland.
It shows that during the winter of 2006-‘07 (the most recent figures available), there were 1,281 excess winter deaths, meaning the number of deaths in the four winter months as opposed to the average figures across the other eight months of the year. Of these, the vast majority were older people, with 1,216 of them aged over 65.
“These are older people who are dying of cardiovascular and respiratory illness -- cold-related conditions,” Timmins said. “They are dying because they cannot afford to heat their homes to a safe level.”
The new research highlights the scale of the silent suffering being experienced by older people. In response to a questionnaire earlier this year, almost a quarter of respondents (24%) said their homes were “too cold” and more than half (51%) went without other necessities to pay their fuel bills.
Driven to Drink
THE owner of a rural pub near Buttevant has joined forces with the Avondhu Blackwater Partnership in a scheme intended to literally drive people to drink.
A new rural night link bus service was launched last weekend to the Crossroads Bar in Bragger, offering locals the chance to enjoy a few pints in their local without having to worry about how they will get back homes again afterwards.
Publican John Buckley, who purchased and reopened the Crossroads in 2007, said that strict drink driving laws have hit his trade hard over recent years.
"After a promising two years we, like all rural pubs, found this becoming increasing difficult with both the economic downturn and stricter drunk driving laws leading to a decline in trade," he said.
"Now the new lower limits mean that people who might have had two drinks before are now only having one. That is a disaster for them as well as us. Like other rural pubs we are only hanging on by our fingertips.”
With this in mind Buckley approached Damien Tobin of the Avondhu Partnership with a view to seeking information on any rural transport initiatives that might help his situation.
"We had reached a crossroads with the business but were determined to keep it open to maintain a sanctuary of conversation, fun and local enterprise in the current climate of doom and gloom," Buckley added.
Tobin said that John's approach was timely as they recognized the problems faced by rural publicans and country dwellers that would be left with no social outlet if pubs such as the Crossroads were forced to close their doors.
The cost will be €5 return or €3 one-way, with the Crossroads throwing in a complimentary drink for all users during the month of November.
A WOMAN is alleged to have punched a driver after she came out of her house to see what was happening when the motorist beeped her horn at a child who was jay-walking across the road.
Annette Roberts, 39, is alleged to have knocked out the victim's two teeth and left her with a bloody mouth during the roadside assault.
The defendant, of Sundale Lawn in Tallaght, appeared before Tallaght District Court charged with seriously assaulting another woman. The alleged incident took place at Swiftbrook Avenue in Tallaght on September 28 of last year.
Garda (police officer) Sergeant Carmel Henry alleged the victim was driving onto Swiftbrook Avenue around 2:45 p.m. when she beeped her horn at a young child crossing the road. It is alleged a teenager then approached her and started verbally abusing her.
Henry claimed the woman got out of her car and the teen punched her.
It is alleged Roberts then came on the scene and she punched the victim a number of times.
The sergeant claimed the victim fell to the ground and lost consciousness. She also lost two teeth.
Judge James McDonnell adjourned the case to a date in January for the service of the book of evidence.
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