A woman who showed no remorse for an unprovoked attack on a garda has been given the maximum three month prison sentence for assault.
Judge Seamus Hughes said he had no option in a situation where Eileen Mullin, who has no fixed abode, had shown “no remorse whatsoever”.
Inspector Nicholas Farrell said the female garda had been on Church Street, Athlone on May 19 at around 2.30pm in advance of the visit of An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny.
She saw Mullin walking towards her, smiling and she acknowledged Mullin, who then ran at her and scratched her face.
She tried to bite the garda on the arm through her tunic and while she didn’t break the skin, she caused a large bruise.
She was very violent and had to be restrained, but continued to be very, very aggressive at the Garda station.
She has no previous convictions, but the court heard she has spent 11 or 12 years in psychiatric institutions in the UK and in Ireland.
Solicitor Robert Kelly described the incident as out of the blue, and said his client could give no explanation for her behaviour.
She has a long, long history of mental health issues, he said, adding that staff at St Loman’s hospital feel she has an emotionally unstable personality disorder.
There was a chilling conversation between the judge and Mullin.
“Are you going to apologise?”
“Why not?” Mullin shrugged her shoulders in reply.
“You attempted to scratch the face of a garda for no reason,” said the judge.
“So?” replied Mullin.
“There have been further incidents at the Mater since I saw you [last] - what do you say to that?”
Mullin dropped her head and did not reply, and didn’t answer when the judge asked why she adopted that attitude.
He told her she had been a bully in the past and may have gotten away with that, but that in his court, she will abide by the law and respect people.
“Are you going to terrorise people in future?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, and started to smile, prompting the judge to remind her that this was no laughing matter.
He said Mullin shows substantial impulsivity that can be extremely dangerous to the public.
She has an unblemished record, but has a major mood disorder, even though she is not currently diagnosed with a recognised mental illness under the Mental Health Act.
When he then asked her how she found being in custody for the last month, Mullin replied “It doesn’t bother me.”
The court heard she has nowhere to live and that while her brother will accommodate her for a couple of days, he won’t take her in the longer term.
Inspector Nicholas Farrell said she had been ejected from her last accommodation over failure to pay rent.
Imposing the maximum sentence, the judge noted that Mullin had shown no remorse for attacking a female, leaving her with a bruise and a physical scar.
“It could have been a lot worse,” concluded the judge.