A young Belcarra man suffering from alcoholism issued a frank and heartfelt warning on the dangers of alcohol abuse to a group of transition year students in Castlebar District Court on Wednesday.
The students from Rice College, Westport, were observing the court proceedings from the public gallery.
Vincent Joyce, Doonamona, Belcarra, a 28-year-old who works on his family’s farm, told the court, and the students, how his struggle with alcohol addiction has, at times, made his life unmanageable, ruined his mother’s life, and seen him imprisoned three times.
All previous convictions against Mr Joyce related to alcohol fuelled incidents of public order, assault, and criminal damage.
The court was told Mr Joyce was arrested at 5.20pm on February 25 last at the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar. Following a report of a disturbance, gardaí arrived to the hotel to find him highly intoxicated, shouting at staff and throwing chairs.
Up until that day, Mr Joyce had been attending AA four to five times a week and had not taken alcohol in 29 months.
“I thought I could have one or two and go home but it never ends at that,” he said in court. “It got out of hand. I accept fully now that I can’t drink.”
He said he had been to prison three times, all due to alcohol related incidents. “I don’t want to go back,” he said. “I am trying my best...When I do drink my life is unmanageable. It has ruined my life, ruined my mother’s life, and my brothers and sisters.”
Mr Joyce added that he would do anything possible to avoid returning to prison.
Asked by his solicitor James Ward what he would say to the students in the court on the day, Mr Joyce responded: “Drink is a curse. It is no good to anybody.”
Judge Mary Devins remanded him on continuing bail to appear back before the court in one year’s time for sentencing.