A homeless man arrested eight times in just three weeks and charged with a plethora of public order offences has been jailed for four months and told to use that time to sober up.
Judge Mary Fahy gave the warning at Galway District Court on Monday after sentencing Padraic Joyce (50 ) with an address given as Fairgreen Hostel, Galway, for various public order offences.
The court heard that on December 19, 2011, at 7pm the defendant was observed roaring and shouting in Eyre Square.
This aggression was turned on gardai when they approached and Joyce was arrested and charged with being intoxicated in a public place and with threatening and abusive behaviour. Some days later, on December 22, at 12.50am a call was received from a member of the public regarding a man who was extremely intoxicated at Fairgreen Hostel. When gardai arrived Joyce became extremely aggresive and abusive towards them and it was necessary to arrest him. He was later charged with threatening and abusive behaviour and failing to obey Garda directions.
Five days later, Joyce was charged with similar offences after causing an incident at 1.30pm at Market Street in which the defendant became very agitated when he saw gardai approaching, and began swinging a bottle of Vodka towards gardai but did not make contact. Following his release from Garda custody Joyce’s antics continued; at 9.20pm gardai were called to go to Fairgreen Hostal where they found an intoxicated Joyce banging violently on the door and being very abusive. On December 29, Fairgreen Hostel was again the scene of a disturbance caused by Joyce and gardai were called only to find him again in an intoxicated state and highly abusive. After failing to appear in court on January 4 of this year Joyce was charged with further public order offences, that of being intoxicated in a public place and failing to obey Garda directions at Supermac’s in Cross Street on January 6 last. The court heard how gardai received a call from a member of the public at 3.20pm regarding a man causing a disturbance. Gardai directed Joyce to leave the area however he refused and was conveyed to Galway Garda Station.
Joyce’s solicitor said his client is originally from Camus and that his house had been vandalised forcing him to move out of the local authority house. He added that Joyce, who has had psychological difficulties since the 1980s, was then forced to sleep rough. The court heard that over the past four months Joyce’s problems with alcohol escalated when he switched to drinking Vodka and that he had never accrued such a bulk of offences before.
Joyce then told Judge Fahy that when the vandalism was done to his home it scared him. “This spirit Vodka got a grip on me. It [the vandalism] was done many times and nothing was done about it, it drove me onto the drink,” said Joyce before pleading with Judge Fahy to give him a chance.
“To let you go about your business. I’d be doing you a favour to remand you,” replied a concerned Judge Fahy. Inspector Ernie Whyte then informed the court that Joyce has 13 previous convictions, all for public order and one for failing to appear in court.
Judge Fahy asked Joyce’s solicitor and Inspector Whyte to look into the vandalism matter. She then convicted Joyce and imposed a total of four months jail adding: “I’m doing that as much as a favour to him. He needs a period of sobering up.” Judge Fahy also ordered that Joyce be seen immediately for his alcohol and medical problems.