Twelve months for drunkard after State finally runs out of patience

Despite promises of work and AA attendance, an inveterate drunk with 150 previous convictions was returned to prison to serve out a District Court sentence after his appeal was turned down in the Circuit Court at its most recent sitting in Athlone (February 23 ).

Gerry Fallon (50 ), originally of Ardmullen, Kiltoom but who had been living with a friend, Mr Paddy Meares, in Grange, Curraghboy, Co Roscommon, told the court how he and Mr Meares no longer saw eye to eye since Fallon got bailed from jail last December.

Fallon had been sentenced to 12 months in prison last July 21 and appealed it. He re-offended on three occasions in August whilst on this bail and was re-incarcerated on September 9. In the Circuit Court on December 8 Judge Anthony Kennedy suspended this for 12 months and put Fallon on a probation order for this period.

In court last week, Judge Kennedy remarked that Fallon: “had consistently failed to attend with the probation service” and commented on a letter he had received from Mr Meares in reference to the defendant and criticised this approach.

“Nobody should be writing directly to a judge like that,” he said. before asking Fallon what his connection was with Mr Meares.

“He’s a friend I worked with for 30 years. He put a mobile home on his land for me,” said Fallon.

However, he told the court that since imprisonment, Mr Meares told him the council wanted to move the mobile home and when he got back to the site, he claimed all his property had been thrown out the front of the mobile home.

In cross examination, Fallon denied shouting at or threatening Mr Meares on the phone over this.

“Why would he [Mr Meares] be saying these things if they’re not true?” asked Mr Groarke, barrister for the State.

‘”He doesn’t like me going to Dublin. I got a job and a flat there from my brother driving a machine. He’s a building contractor,” said Fallon.

“When Judge Kennedy gave you a second chance [in December], you’re offending again after two days,” said Mr Groarke.

Fallon claimed he only went back on the drink then as a reaction to finding all his property thrown out and that: “I didn’t mean to”.

“Mr Meares came to court [in December] and bailed you out, looked after you and supported you. What can the State do to help you?” asked State Solicitor, Mr Peter D Jones.

“I’ve been to a few AA meetings,” said Fallon, before promising he would attend more.

Unimpressed, Judge Kennedy dismissed Fallon’s appeal, and ordered he serve the rest of his 12 month sentence.

Mr Gerard Gallagher, solicitor for Fallon, sought to have this backdated to September 9 and the judge granted this.

Fallon was returned to the District Court this week (March 3 ) from custody to face a number of matters to which he had previously pleaded guilty that had to wait for a circuit court determination.

An 11 month sentence for criminal damage in the garda station which was postponed by this was re-imposed by Judge John Neilan in the Distrcit Court this week.

“It was a fireproof mattress and he set fire to it,” said the judge.

He also backdated this sentence to September 9.

“Now Gerry. I’ve done the best I can for you,” said Judge Neilan.


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