Judge urges more facilities to help drug addicts

A judge has said that until a sufficient number of properly resourced facilities for drug addicts are put in place, more deaths like that suffered by James Sherlock will occur.

Judge urges more facilities to help drug addicts

The body of the 24-year-old double leg amputee was found on the grounds of Ennis Golf Club in August after dying of a suspected drug overdose.

Mr Sherlock was on bail awaiting sentence before Ennis Circuit Court for his conviction for setting fire to the Lakes Nursing Home in Killaloe in Aug 2010.

Earlier this year, Judge Gerald Keyes said the State must find accommodation for Mr Sherlock, who lost both his legs due to complications from his addiction to heroin.

Judge Keyes adjourned the case on a number of occasions in order to identify accommodation for Mr Sherlock.

Gardaí confirmed that Mr Sherlock had been squatting near the 8th green at Ennis Golf Club for a number of nights before his body was discovered by a family member on Aug 15.

Mr Sherlock’s sentencing was adjourned to Ennis Circuit Court yesterday and when the case was called, Judge Keyes read aloud from a prepared statement: “It is with a great degree of sadness that I read in the newspapers the circumstances of the untimely death of James Sherlock.

“He was a troubled man with huge problems with little or no adequate resources for him to assist him in dealing with his drug addiction and medical complications which arose therefrom.

“In this court, I said that this man cannot be abandoned. I adjourned the case for the purpose of ascertaining what help he could get for his drug addiction and medical complications.

“I then read in the newspapers at the time of his demise, Mr Sherlock appeared to be homeless.

“I am now compelled to say until the problem of drug addiction in this country is tackled and sufficient number of properly resourced facilities are put in place by the State, there will be more deaths of this kind and the prison population will increase.

“I passionately believe that if a sufficient number of properly resourced facilities for drug addiction are established, it would reduce crime levels, the size of the prison population and save lives.

“This, in the long term, would result in substantial exchequer savings which would be allocated to resource other worthy causes.”

At a sitting in April, senior probation officer, Eoin Ryan told the circuit court that the State could not be a home for Mr Sherlock as insurance companies will not insure any care homes or hostels that would provide a home for him, due to Mr Sherlock’s conviction for arson.

Mr Sherlock had his second leg amputated below the knee this year.

Mr Sherlock’s death was the second time that his family has been hit by tragedy.

Mr Sherlock’s mother, Martina, died in Dec 2008 from organ failure caused by sepsis.

The circumstances that surrounded Mrs Sherlock’s death were the subject of a 2011 High Court settlement between Ms Sherlock’s husband, James Sr, and the HSE, with the HSE paying out an undisclosed amount to the Sherlock family.

The inquest into Mr Sherlock’s death has yet to be held.

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