Tuesday 28 February 2017

Shocked family can't believe dad's in jail over windows

"I CAN'T see how you could justify putting a man in jail for that."

Those were the heartfelt words of Harold O'Toole's stunned son, Harold jnr, as he and his three siblings tried to come to terms with the fact that their father will be spending Christmas behind bars.

Harold jnr (29), who had travelled home from the Dominican Republic to be with his family at the court hearing, spoke of his shock at the six month jail term handed down to their father.

"I am shocked by it because it doesn't seem as bad as other things that are going on out there," he said.

Harold jnr told the Irish Independent that he and his sisters - Caroline, Jenny and Kathy - were struggling to understand why their father will not be with them over the festive season.

"The dormer windows were put up illegally, but I can't see how you could justify putting a man in jail for that," he added.

Mr O'Toole said his father was not a well man and suffers from depression. "I reckon this has taken an awful toll on him. My parents worked hard for years and were among the first people in the neighbourhood to pay off their council house," he said.

"He lost his job not long after my mother died and he has always been a very active man. The reason why he built those dormers was probably out of boredom when he was trying to deal with the loss of our mother," added Harold jnr, who appealed to Cork County Council to "drop the case".

Caroline O'Toole said her family faced more heartbreak over the coming weeks and months.

"He (her father) is going to be in prison for Christmas and his birthday is on Christmas Eve as well," said Caroline.

"He will also be locked up for my mother's anniversary in February," she added.

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