Judge apologises to gardaí for releasing Athlone’s number one repeat offender

One of Athlone’s most prolific public nuisances is set to become the Midland’s most convicted man when he records a 254th conviction on June 25, but will be on the streets in the interim, much to the annoyance of senior gardaí.

“Sorry, inspector, but I am going to let him out. Sorry for increasing your workload,” said the judge.

Gerry Fallon (54 ), presently of no fixed abode, but originally from Curraghboy, Co Roscommon appeared in the District Court in Athlone this week (June 11 ) from custody to face an additional nine charges, allegedly committed in Athlone and Sligo between his most recent release from jail on May 12, and his return to custody on June 1.

Mr Fallon’s propensity to re-offend whilst drunk has seen him flash an ICA bus returning from Knock, throw eggs at jeering children, attempt to post a letter whilst naked, and urinate in a fruit and veg shop.

It has also seen Fallon get his very own Facebook page, a heavily edited dedication to his anti-social nefariousness.

Last month Fallon re-offended within three days of being released from an eight-month sentence, of which he had served five.

His pattern of immediate re-offending forced Judge Seamus Hughes to order the appearance of the director of the Midland Prison Colm Barclay in the District Court in June 2012 to explain his policy of temporary release.

He explained how “pressure on the numbers”, combined with Fallon’s apparent docility once sober, had allowed the defendant exploit this particular gap.

In court last week however, Inspector Nicholas Farrell raised concerns that recent escalations in Fallon’s drunken behaviour - which culminated in his attempting to grope a female paramedic called to his assistance last month - had seen him kept in custody since June 1, to allow the Probation Service assess him for community service.

“He can be running around without clothing or shoes, waving his arms around at any time of the day or night, and then he’ll create havoc in the station until he falls asleep...I have to say, in recent years, this man has become more violent,” explained the inspector last week.

In court on Wednesday, after a week of assessment, the probation officer told the court she would need another two weeks to fully assess his suitability for a community service order.

However, as Fallon had spent the last 10 days in custody, and the District Court can only hold a detainee for a maximum of two weeks without seeking higher permission, Judge Hughes seemed to agree with the application of Fallon’s solicitor, Mr Paul Connellan.

“ I am not in the business of curtailing a man’s freedom,” said the judge.

“You’d want to see the face of the inspector, Mr Connellan. You can’t see it, but I can,” smiled the judge.

“I can imagine it,” said Mr Connellan.

“Sorry, inspector, but I am going to let him out. Sorry for increasing your workload,” said the judge, remanding Fallon on continuing bail until June 25.

“It’s time to grow up. If you re-offend I can send you to jail for two years. You have the keys of the prison,” said the judge to Fallon.

There was a final concern alleviated when the probation officer pointed out that though Fallon had given three addresses, the Prison Service had confirmed it would bring him to Roscommon town to meet a community welfare officer for emergency housing.

Once the judge was satisfied Fallon had no money he said: “Go on, get out of my sight”.

Fallon smirked and waved as he left court.

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