Two months jail for abuse at social welfare office

A Newcastle man who, during an ‘alcohol rampage’, abusively demanded dole money from staff at a social welfare office and, after getting no joy, relieved himself by urinating on the exterior of the building in the presence of gardai was jailed for two months this week.

At a court sitting held in June of this year, Stephen Rabbitte (25 ) with an address at 96 Inishannagh Park, Newcastle, Galway, pleaded guilty to threatening and abusive behaviour at Sandyvale Lawn, Headford Road, and to threatening and abusive behaviour at St Augustine Street, on February 2, 2011. Charges for being intoxicated in a public place, obstruction, and failing to obey Garda orders had been withdrawn.

The court heard at the time that at 10.20am gardai received a call to go to Sandyvale Lawn area where a group of people were extremely abusive to local residents. Rabbitte, who was roaring and shouting, proceeded to turn his abuse on gardai and was arrested and taken to Galway Garda Station. Rabbitte was later released, however, at 11.25am that same day he made his way to the social welfare offices in St Augustine Street and demanded his dole money. During this incident Rabbitte was extremely abusive to staff who then alerted gardai. When gardai arrived they found Rabbitte to be still very abusive and when taken outside he ignored gardai and proceeded to urinate against the social welfare building.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran explained at the time that her client had been out of custody for two weeks and that he suffered from a serious alcohol and drug problem. She said that Rabbitte had gone on a serious “alcohol rampage”. Rabbitte was then remanded on continuing bail for the preparation of a pre-sentencing report.

When the case resumed this week, Inspector Ernie White said that while at the social welfare office Rabbitte was very aggressive to staff and refused to leave “telling them he was not going anywhere until he got his effing dole”. Inspector White said that it took a number of gardai to arrest Rabbitte who has 51 previous convictions, including two counts of trespassing for which he received a nine-month and consecutive four month sentence in November 2010.

Judge Mary Fahy noted that the incident at the social welfare office was very serious as the staff there deal with a large number of people.

Ms Corcoran said that her client had been drinking all night and was still under the influence. She said that he had not been able to abide by the conditions of his bail to take steps to deal with his addiction problems.

Judge Fahy convicted Rabbitte and imposed a two month jail sentence for the public order offence at the social welfare office, and a further two month sentence, to run concurrently, was imposed for the remaining charge.



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