Ex-garda jailed for contempt over fire hazard
Published 16/12/2010 | 05:00
A FORMER garda has been jailed for six weeks for contempt of court over a rented property he owns which has been declared a fire risk.
President of the High Court Mr Justice Kearns described Kevin Galvin as being in "flagrant breach" of undertakings he had previously given to the court for the property at 73 Cabra Park, Dublin.
The judge committed him to prison, on foot of an application by Dublin City Council, after being informed he failed to abide by an undertaking given last Friday that the building would be vacated by all of its residents.
Mr Galvin, of Furrypark Road, Killester, Dublin, claimed he had asked four people in the property to leave but they refused to do so.
The court heard the four were not refusing to leave but were trying to get alternative accommodation.
Mr Galvin, who was sacked from the gardai earlier this year, has brought separate High Court proceedings challenging the decision to dismiss him.
Last July, he was given a three-month suspended sentence at Dublin District Court for breaches of fire safety regulations over another premises he owns.
Yesterday, the court was told that on Tuesday, fire safety officials found three adults and a child still living in flats at the Cabra Park property, which they considered a fire hazard and not fit for human habitation -- despite the undertaking that it would be vacated.
Lawyers for Mr Galvin told the court he genuinely believed the undertakings would be complied with. He informed the tenants they had to leave, but that they refused to do so.
The court was asked to give Mr Galvin a chance to fully comply with the undertakings.
Lawyers from the four tenants told the court they were not refusing to leave and that they were attempting to source alternative accommodation.
Mr Justice Kearns said that Mr Galvin had committed the "most serious of contempt".
The judge said that as an ex-garda, Mr Galvin should have "understood the gravity of undertakings given to a court".
When he told the court last week that the premises had been vacated, this was "an outright lie", the judge said.
Noting the history of the proceedings, the judge said undertaking given to the court both last July and last week had not been complied with.
Mr Galvin had also not carried out the necessary works on the building to ensure the safety of the people living there.
The judge also stressed that as far as the court was concerned, the residents at the premises were innocent parties in all of this.