A judge who imposed fines on TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly has expressed frustration with those fined before him not paying the fines and ending up having “afternoon tea” with the governor at Limerick Prison.
Judge Patrick Durcan last year imposed fines totalling €4,000 on Mr Wallace and Ms Daly after they had breached the airport perimeter at Shannon in July 2014.
Judge Durcan imposed the fines after a two-day case.
His order specified that the two would each serve 30 days in jail if the fines were not paid.
The TDs, however, refused to pay the fines and, in December, were separately brought from Dublin to Limerick by gardaí for committal to prison but were released within a matter of hours.
The cost of transporting them to jail and processing them at the prison is estimated at €8,000 — which excludes the costs of investigating the offences and prosecuting the case over two days at Ennis District Court.
Yesterday at Kilrush District Court, in relation to a 36-year-old mother of one from west Clare who was convicted of two public order offences after being found drunk by gardaí, Judge Durcan said: “All I can do is impose a fine.”
He said: “If she doesn’t pay the fine? What happens is this: She is conveyed to Limerick Prison by State car — as many others are — and she goes and has afternoon tea with the governor as other people have done in the past.”
“She will then be released and sent home.”
Judge Durcan excoriated the woman after hearing that gardaí brought her to University Hospital Limerick due to her drunken state last year.
“People like you — drunken women — packing Limerick hospital when genuine people have to wait on trolleys. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
In the case, Judge Durcan imposed a fine of €300 on the woman.
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