Judge unhappy with treatment of tourmented neighbour

Judge Seamus Hughes has said he is not happy that Westmeath County Council isn’t looking into an alleged serious incident of anti-social behaviour in Dalton Park, Mullingar.

He questioned the logic of the DPP bringing a theft charge against a woman who said she committed the offence so she could be moved from the home which she bought from the council.

Angela Bardon (42 ), 147 Dalton Park, admitted stealing €100 goods from Marks & Spencer on November 29 last year but said she had done so because she thought it would get her moved.

Unnamed neighbours were subjecting her and her family to extraordinary anti-social behaviour, the court heard, and she believed that because other people had been moved as a result of committing criminal offences, she might be too.

Her solicitor Louis Kiernan said gardaí have called to Bardon’s home to discuss historic allegations she has made against the other family which were aired in court in early December last year.

Inspector Dermot Drea said they are “actively investigating” the situation.

He said it appeared the serious incident alleged to the court had been investigated “but it didn’t go further”.

“I have a limited role, but if I can be a voice for the oppressed, I will,” he said, promising to send the case back to the DPP or to the Department of the Environment if he is satisfied that either the Gardaí or the council “are in dereliction of their duty”.

When the case was last in court, Judge Hughes asked solicitor Vicky McCarthy to invite the council to appear before him to explain the situation.

A council representative from the housing department was in court, but there was no council solicitor and under those circumstances, Judge Hughes said he would not hear what Gerry Loughrey had to say.

“I want to know what happened and I want to be sure that justice is being doing and is seen to be done,” he said.

Not all councils are up to date on the latest legislation on anti-social behaviour, he said, adding that he expects that the message will go to the council that he views the case extremely seriously.

The case will appear before Judge Hughes again later this month.

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