Garda takes action to ensure baby’s safety at house party, court hears

A garda who had concerns for the safety of a child after gaining entry to a wild house party was then confronted with the highly intoxicated and agitated mother, the Galway District Court heard this week.

The steps taken by the garda to ensure the safety of the child were revealed in court on Monday after 19-year-old Siobhan O’Donnell with an address at 37 Altan Apartments, Western Distributor Road, pleaded guilty to the production of a weapon in the course of a dispute and with being intoxicated at her home on May 17, 2009.

Garda Fergal Kilbane gave evidence that at 3.15am he received a call from the fire brigade regarding extinguishers being set off in the stairwell of the apartment block. The incident had begun after two univited people tried to get into the party. Garda Kilbane immediately spoke with the chief fire officer who had concerns for the safety of a baby. The court heard that a woman, who was talking on the phone and in a “highly agitated state”, had been seen holding a baby near an open window.

When Garda O’Shea gained entry to the apartment he found that a party was taking place and he observed a male dancing around with a child. He told the court that at this point he had concerns for the child and explained to O’Donnell that he was going to remove the child for its own safety. However, O’Donnell, who has highly intoxicated, left the living room and went into the kitchen where she picked up a knife and returned with it in her hand. She handed over the knife to Garda Kilbane a short time later.

Referring to reports Judge Mary Fahy noted that O’Donnell was now engaging with services and that she was taking medication to help with her drinking problems. Garda Kilbane said that O’Donnell has not come to the attention of gardai since and that there was a “significant improvement in her behaviour”. He added that O’Donnell had apologised for the incident a week later.

After hearing the evidence Judge Fahy placed O’Donnell on a Probation Bond for 12 months with the conditions that she be of good behaviour, that she continue taking medication and seeing a counsellor, and continue co-operating with other services.

A now 18-year-old co-accused, who cannot be named as she was a juvenile at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty to obstruction of a peace officer and being intoxicated in a public place. The court heard how the defendant had interfered with the arrest of O’Donnell by pulling at gardai.

Judge Fahy noted that it was a case of “misplaced loyalty”. She place the defendant on a Probation Bond of €300 for six months with the conditions that she be of good behaviour and co-operate with the probation services.


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