Judge’s jibe over jail visit by TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly

A judge made a couple of thinly veiled barbs at the governor of Limerick prison over TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly enjoying “afternoon tea” at the jail last month.

Judge Patrick Durcan last year imposed fines totalling €4,000 on Mr Wallace and Ms Daly after they breached the perimeter at Shannon Airport in July 2014.

His order also specified the two would each serve 30 days in jail if the fines were not paid.

The two refused to pay the fines and, last month, were brought separately from Dublin to Limerick prison by gardaí for committal to jail. Both, however, were released within a matter of hours.

The cost of transporting the two to jail and processing them at the prison was put at an estimated €8,000.

The reference to “tea with the governor” came during an unrelated matter yesterday at Killaloe District Court.

Declan Browne, aged 27, of Lackyle, Ardnacrusha, Co Clare, who had pleaded guilty to his involvement in the burglary of a lakeside mansion owned by Gary McNamara, son of Euro- Millions winner Dolores McNamara, also admitted a drugs possession offence.

He has yet to be sentenced in relation to the handling of stolen goods from the mansion as a circuit court judge, Judge Gerald Keys, granted him bail to allow him attend a nine-month long drug rehab course.

Browne pleaded guilty to handling stolen property from the mansion on September 13, 2013. His solicitor, Tara Godfrey, commented Browne’s third conviction for drugs possession placed him at risk of receiving a jail term.

However, in reply, Judge Durcan imposed a fine of €350 on Browne for the drugs possession with six months to pay and 15 days in prison if no fine was paid.

The judge also remarked: “That shouldn’t cause too difficulty for Mr Browne. All he has to do is hop into Limerick prison for afternoon tea with the governor and that seems to be the practice at Limerick prison.”

Later in court, where Judge Durcan remanded a man charged with burglary to Limerick prison, he directed the prison governor be made aware of the accused’s medical condition, as a methadone user. “Where we now have prison governors who receive people for afternoon tea who are subject to serious orders of this court, I think it is extremely important that the position of this accused be set out very clearly to the prison governor in case the prison governor treats a serious case like this in a manner that is not serious.”


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