A judge today jailed a west Clare woman for six months for the assault on two paramedics when coughing in their direction in the back of an ambulance and telling them “I have the virus”.
At Ennis District Court on Wednesday, Judge Patrick Durcan stated that Rebecca Blunnie's behaviour on April 10 last “was of an absolutely appalling nature”.
Ms Blunnie (30) of Pella Rd, Kilrush had pleaded guilty to the assault of paramedics, David Meaney and Frank Greaney at Dunogrogue, Killimer on April 10.
Sgt Aiden Lonergan stated that the two paramedics were within one metre of Ms Blunnie when she coughed in the confined space of an ambulance and stated that she had the virus.
On that date, this country was in a maelstrom in the middle of the worst public health crisis that has ever been experienced here.
He stated that on April 10 this country was in virtual ‘lock-down’ and business had ground to a halt and citizens were in fear and despite all of that, Ms Blunnie gave appalling abuse to "these two decent men" of the ambulance service.
Judge Durcan stated that in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic, “ambulance service personnel were laying their lives on the line day in and day out to assist people who were genuinely ill”.
Judge Durcan stated that in her drunken, selfish stupor, Ms Blunnie had an ambulance sent for her.
Judge Durcan stated that Ms Blunnie told the ambulance men “I have the virus’ and coughed in their direction at a time when the country was in high alert and high fear.
Judge Durcan stated that Ms Blunnie - who has 43 previous convictions - “has an appalling record”.
Sgt Lonergan stated that Ms Blunnie ‘smirked’ after coughing in the direction of the two paramedics and Ms Blunnie denied this in court.
Ms Blunnie told the court previously: “It was just a joke. I didn’t mean to do it” and later added “I don’t have the virus”.
Sgt Lonergan stated that the ambulance crew were called to the address in response to a call concerning Ms Blunnie’s state of intoxication and she was being treated by the ambulance crew in the back of the ambulance.
Solicitor for Ms Blunnie, Monica Roche told the court that her client sincerely apologises to the paramedics and the Gardai for her actions.
Ms Roche stated: “Ms Blunnie accepts that it was very serious in the light of the current pandemic and she regrets her actions and never meant to cause any harm. She accepts that she did cause great distress to people who were only doing her job.”
Ms Roche stated that Ms Blunnie was highly intoxicated on the night.