“It’s a sad situation to see anyone living in a hostel with no increment from the State,” said Judge John Neilan as he fined a man €750 for theft.
He imposed the monetary penalty on Slavonir Bartoszak, a Polish national, and requested that it be paid immediately with 45 days imprisonment in default of payment. He was doing this, he said, because Mr Bartoszack’s address was uncertain.
The court heard how the 27-year-old, who has been in Ireland for two years, had been living rough and suffering “addictive problems”.
Now that he was living in a hostel and his food requirements were dealt with, the incidents didn’t seem to be recurring, said John Quinn.
His client had pleaded guilty to stealing a box of wedges from Tesco in Mullingar on March 31 and a box of salad and a bottle of Paddys whiskey from Buckley’s Supervalu on March 10.
He had moved away from his previous address at 224 Abbeylands to get away from the difficulties he was having, but had lost everything, including his ID and was having difficulty in getting a replacement passport from the Polish embassy.
“Has he gone to the Polish embassy and they said because he didn’t have money, they were not prepared to give him a Polish passport?” asked the judge.
Mr Bartoszak said he was trying to get it organised but didn’t want to go back to Poland because the situation was not good.
He is getting food and clothing but no money, he said, explaining that he had hitch-hiked from Dublin with a number of stops along the way.
“I don’t understand why he chooses to live the difficult lifestyle he’s engaged in at the moment,” said the judge as he imposed the fine.