Fines but no jail for “dysfunctional” youth

A youth from “an incredibly dysfunctional family background” was fined a total of €400 this week after failing to attend for 170 hours of community service.

Nathan Ring (18 ), also known as Nathan Walsh, with an address at St Michael’s Place, Ballinasloe was arrested earlier this week in Limerick after failing to attend the Probation Service’s Canal House in Ballinasloe on November 23, as ordered by the court.

Ring had previously pleaded guilty to possession of a knife, criminal damage, and a public order offence last year as a young person, but had since achieved his majority.

Ring had been due in court in Athlone on September 4 for the presentation of his probation report but failed to turn up.

“He was reluctant to appear because of feud issues in the town,” said his solicitor, Mr Padraig Quinn.

He then subsequently failed to appear in Longford, and also claimed he didn’t get a registered letter sent to his given address, which was noted as received.

“He’s only a messer,” said Judge Seamus Hughes.

“He had family difficulties, and wasn’t welcome at home. There were also some drug debts, so he went to the UK. He returned three months ago to live with a cousin in Limerick,” explained Mr Quinn.

“What does he do?” asked the judge.

“Nothing,” said the defendant.

“What do you do?”

“Nothin’ at all”.

Mr Quinn attempted to explain Ring’s dysfunctional background.

“He was somebody who attended primary school until he was eight in Limerick. He returned to do sixth class in a school in Tullamore, but was expelled. He went to secondary in Tullamore, but was expelled after two weeks. He’s been drinking since he was 13, cannabis, anger management issues feuding groups...” Mr Quinn said.

“What’s your plan for the next 12 months?” enquired Judge Hughes.

“Stay out of trouble. Look for Youthreach or FÁS,” smirked the youth.

“Has he done anything about it? No. It’s easier to stay in bed all day. I see on the report he’s not suitable for community supervision and ‘would benefit from a more secure environment’. What I take from this is to lock him up. You need to seriously look at your lifestyle. The only way off this slippery slope is to get a job. Good hard work,” suggested the judge, before fining him a total of €400 for the criminal damage, failing to turn up to court, and possession of the knife.

He gave Ring four months to pay this.

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