independent

Friday 20 October 2017

Man getting fresh start with new faith based organisation

Sligo Court House, Teeling Street
Sligo Court House, Teeling Street

A man who has been battling with alcohol has been remanded on continuing bail after it emerged he is getting a fresh start with a Faith based Community Initiative.

Sligo District Court heard that on 9th May Gardaí got a call about a man threatening staff at The Snug bar in Stephen's Street car park. When they arrived they viewed CCTV footage and identified the defendant, David Kelly (29) with addresses given at Garavogue Villas and Chestnut Grove, Castlebar.

He was later stopped on JFK Parade, "highly intoxicated". Inspector Paul Kilcoyne said Kelly started shouting abuse at the Gardaí and was subsequently arrested.

Nine days later, on 18th May, Gardaí responded to a report of a man drunk at the Garavogue Bar at 11.45pm. They found Kelly being restrained by security staff and arrested him due to his intoxication.

Kelly pleaded guilty to both Public Order charges before Judge Kevin Kilrane on 21st September.

His solicitor, Mr Eddie Henry, told Judge Kilrane that when his client was off alcohol, "you couldn't meet a nicer person."

"The reality is that when David takes alcohol, he's a completely different person, abusing Gardaí blatantly and foolishly," he told the court.

He handed up a urine analysis from the day before and said Kelly had gotten a "clean bill of health."

Mr Henry said Kelly had been engaging with The Joshua Project, a Faith based community initiative designed to give marginalised people new direction to bring their life back on track, such as the long-term unemployed or people who suffer from substance abuse.

Co-founder of The Joshua Project, Mr Liam McNamara gave evidence in Kelly's defence. He said they met Kelly two months ago in Ballina "in a bad state" where he was "suicidal and intoxicated."

The not-for-profit Joshua Project was founded less than a year ago and is pending Charitable Status approval.

Mr McNamara said he and his wife Mary and a third Trustee Mr Roddy Gallagher had taken Kelly, his partner and two children (including a newborn) under their wing.

He said their programme was designed to help people over 16-20 weeks and the defendant was in the Second Cycle of the programme along with 9 other students.

"All of them have either gone back to further education and four have set up businesses under our protection. Our objective is that if he co-operates with us he will become like the other people and set up a business," Mr McNamara told the judge.

He added that if Kelly was given a custodial sentence it would be "a retrograde step."

Mr McNamara said he was an accountant with a tax practice in Dublin and had a passion to help what he sees as a very big problem nationally.

He said the Joshua Project had its base in Cavan but hoped to expand into Ballinrobe and Ballina next.

The court heard Kelly was now living with one of their trustees Mr Paul Maloney in Westport until alternative accommodation was found for him.

Mr McNamara told Judge Kilrane that the Project start in conjunction with Cavan Drugs Awareness Service, who were partners.

Judge Kilrane said he was "impressed" by Mr McNamara's testimony, adding that it "shows a level of commitment above and beyond the call of duty of the organisation."

He told the court that he was anxious Kelly was given the opportunity to complete the programme "and go on to live a productive life."

He remanded Kelly on continuing bail to next April 5th on all matters to monitor and to hear Mr McNamara again on that date. "I'd be happy to do so," said Mr McNamara.

Sligo Champion

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