No Free Aid
A SOUTHILL man who traveled to Kilkee on holidays had his legal aid revoked after a judge said taxpayers should not have to subsidize his vacation.
At Limerick Court, Anthony Casey sought to have his bail conditions varied so he could go on a family holiday to the West Clare coastal resort.
Casey, 25, is accused of stealing a safe, which contained €850 cash from the Cost Plus Sofas premises at Eastway Business Park shortly before midnight on June 6.
He was previously granted bail subject to a number of strict conditions including a curfew.
Solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client had rented a house in Kilkee for two weeks, and he asked that his bail conditions be changed to allow him travel.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly noted that Casey, who was granted legal aid in June, stated in his application that he had no money to pay for his legal representation.
However, in his evidence, the father-of-one said he had been saving €20 per week since March for his holiday.
Being questioned by the judge, he also agreed that he had stated he was married when, in fact, he is not due to get married until next year.
O’Kelly he was not “one bit impressed” and that the accused had not been truthful in his application for free legal aid. The judge said in the circumstances he was revoking the legal aid.
“You are not entitled to hide your savings from the court when you are asking taxpayers to pay your legal expenses,” he said, adding that there are “many taxpayers who are badly in need of a holiday but cannot afford to go on a two week holiday in Kilkee.”
The judge ordered that during his holidays, Casey must sign on twice a day at Kilrush Garda (police) station. He must also obey a curfew between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. each day.
Gardai in Clare will be monitoring the defendant.
Watch Mass Cars
PARISHES should organize volunteers to keep a watch over cars during major events such as Graveyard Sunday Mass.
This is the view of a town councilor and some priests following two thefts in Letterkenny.
In both cases, money and items were taken from cars as the owners were attending Mass, in one case, in Conwal at Graveyard Sunday Mass.
Sinn Fein’s Gerry McMonagle said parishioners should keep watch over cars during big events. “It would be prudent to have volunteers. We normally have Gardai but they cannot be everywhere,” he said.
In Donegal Town, Father William Peoples backed the call.
“I would totally agree with that. People’s property should be protected. We would usually have volunteer stewards keeping watch on cars during any big events,” he said.
Fr Eddie Gallagher also agreed that more needs to be done to “protect vulnerable people and property in rural Ireland.”
He said, “The old style of community policing seems to have faded away and that leaves a lot of people vulnerable. In the 1980s, the Gardai knew everyone. Now, the criminals can pick out the vulnerable people to target, as we’ve seen in recent burglaries.”
Father Eamonn Kelly said there were both Gardai and stewards in Conwal on Sunday. “We have always had stewards at major events,” he said.
“But the cars went from Ballymacool Park to the filling station at Tullygay. How far out do you put stewards and for how long? It’s a problem we all have. If there was an easy solution, we’d be doing it.”
Cousin Funeral Fight
A-21-YEAR-old Mid-Cork man has been jailed for a year after he admitted assaulting his cousin during a melee at a family funeral and injuring him so seriously that the man lost part of his nostril.
James O'Driscoll from Macroom pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to his cousin, Shane O'Driscoll last May 3.
Garda Clare McNamara told the court that the accused was one of a number of people involved in verbal exchanges which escalated into a melee at Barrack Lane on the day in question following a family funeral.
Witnesses told Gardai that the accused and his cousin were rolling on the ground fighting and that Shane O'Driscoll started shouting, "He's biting me, he's biting me.” When he got up off the pavement part of his left nostril was missing.
McNamara said that James O'Driscoll was cooperative, but it was unclear whether he had bitten off Shane O'Driscoll's nostril or whether it may have been pulled off when it got caught in a ring he was wearing as he punched him with his fist.
Shane O'Driscoll was treated at Cork University Hospital and still undergoing reconstructive surgery on the nose under a plastic surgeon, said McNamara.
She said that James O'Driscoll, who has 33 previous convictions including ones for burglary, theft and public order, was highly intoxicated at the day in question after attending a family funeral.
Defense barrister Peter O'Flynn said his client deeply regretted the assault as he and his cousin had been good friends prior to the incident.
"There's no excusing the level of violence involved," Judge Sean O Donnabhain said. "This was a serious assault and you have a list of previous convictions for anti-social behavior."
He sentenced O'Driscoll to two years in jail but suspended the final 12 months.
‘Racist’ Remark Nixed
OUTSPOKEN Drogheda councilor Frank Godfrey was forced to withdraw remarks he had made at the monthly meeting after fellow councilors accused him of racism.
During a debate on the housing list Godfrey said, “People are coming in and getting houses. Our own people are left on the streets and not being accommodated. I am asking we do all we can do get houses for these people and look after our own.”
Councilor Micheal O'Dowd pointed out that the council was guided by equality legislation when allocating houses.
“To me, ‘look after our own’ is racism, although I don't believe Councilor Godfrey is a racist. But we have to be very careful in the language we use,” O’Dowd said.
He added that the council had a duty to provide a service to all citizens and can't act on a discriminatory basis.
Councilor Liam Reilly said he was “shocked” by Godfrey's remarks and would like to distance himself from them, asking Godfrey to withdraw them.
“I am certainly not a racist,” Godfrey declared. “I was just making a point of fact that a lot of our own people feel that people are being discriminated against and are not getting houses. That is what people are saying. We have to take into consideration our own people.”
“If people are saying it, they are saying it to me, they are being discriminatory,” said chairman, Councilor Declan Breathnach.
Godfrey defended his comments, saying that there was resentment from people in the county.
“We have to do something abut it and house our own people. Only last week I came across a man with blankets sleeping in a park,” he said.
McGuinness said that there may be people who have not come to the attention of the housing services or don't want to engage with them.
“I cannot let it be said that there is injustice in the housing supply in Louth,” remarked McGuinness.
Reilly again said that he found Godfrey's remarks to be “absolutely disgraceful,” and Councilor Pearse McGeough seconded his call to Godfrey to withdraw them.
Protesting that he was just making a point about what people are saying, Godfrey agreed to withdraw his comments.