Homeless man accused of digging up footpaths forgets court dates as 'he's not a criminal'

Homeless man accused of digging up footpaths forgets court dates as 'he's not a criminal'

Lavitt's Quay, Cork City, is one of the locations were paving stones were found removed and flowers left in their place. Picture: Larry Cummins

A 29-year-old homeless man digging up footpaths in three areas of Cork city where cut flowers covered the damage forgets his court dates because he does not see himself as a criminal.

Garda Ken O’Brien arrested Eric Geaney of Cork Simon Community on warrants that were issued because of his failure to turn up in court.

Mr Geaney applied for bail through his solicitor Eddie Burke today even though his attitude to charges was described as blasé.

Mr Geaney explained that he did not see himself as a criminal and that was why he forgot to turn up in court. “I forget my papers when I am running around town playing music and being hassled by homeless people.” 

Judge Olann Kelleher said: “Your cases have been called six or seven times and you do not present in court.” 

Mr Geaney said: “Yeah, it is bad behaviour.

I am childish, I will turn up in court.

Mr Burke told the defendant that his attitude came across as very blasé and Sergeant Gearóid Davis agreed. The defendant said: “I am a little erratic… I don’t want to go to prison. I will turn up.” 

Judge Kelleher said: “I will give you a chance and give you bail but I want you to know — straight between the eyes — you will end up in jail.” 

Geaney replied to the judge: “What is your name?” The judge told him his name. 

The defendant then said: “I take it very seriously, Olann.” 

The judge said: “I don’t know are you charming me now or what you are being.” 

The case against Mr Geaney followed an investigation where a number of sections of pavement in Cork City were found dug up and covered with cut flowers.

Cork City Council reported criminal damage to the Gardai in April after paving at four different locations in the city centre were dug. In some instances, cut flowers and greenery were placed in the dug out sections.
Cork City Council reported criminal damage to the Gardai in April after paving at four different locations in the city centre were dug. In some instances, cut flowers and greenery were placed in the dug out sections.

Charges against Mr Geaney include criminal damage between April 11 and April 12. The first charge states that unlawful damage was caused by the digging up of pavement at St. Peter and St. Paul Place, off Paul St, Cork. The second and third charges refer to similar allegations in relation to locations at Paul St and Lavitt’s Quay.

Cork City Council street cleaning staff made the discovery early on the morning of April 12 when they found paving stones had been removed at locations on Paul St, St Peter and Paul Place. and Lavitt’s Quay.

Dozens of paving stones had been removed at each of the locations and neatly stacked nearby with cut flowers and greenery were left in their place to cover the spaces.

The case was adjourned for one week.

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