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Revellers paying 'celebrity' homeless pair for photos, garda tells judge

THE two homeless men who were living in public toilets now have "celebrity status", with people wanting to have their photo taken with them.

Insp Tom Kennedy told Judge Patrick Durcan at Ennis District Court yesterday that the two eastern Europeans had now attained a new status in the Co Clare town following the media attention they had received from Josef Pavelka's previous court appearance.

On that occasion, Judge Durcan described it as "a scandal" when it emerged that Czech national Mr Pavelka (52) was living in a public toilet in Ennis.

His friend, Polish national Piotr Baram (35), was also sleeping in a superloo.

Mr Pavelka yesterday reappeared before Judge Durcan on public order charges concerning being found intoxicated in public places in Ennis.

Insp Kennedy said that "a significant negative from the men's new status since they have arrived back in Ennis is that people are much freer in giving them money and they hurry off to the nearby off-licence to purchase alcohol".

He added: "It has also been reported to me that revellers are looking to have their photo taken with them and would give them money for that."

Insp Kennedy agreed with Judge Durcan that the two now have "celebrity status" in Ennis.

Solicitor for Mr Pavelka, Daragh Hassett, said that Mr Pavelka would be pleading guilty to all matters.

Insp Kennedy said that because of the problems created by the men's new status, he told the court that it may be a better option for a remand in custody for Mr Pavelka.

Judge Durcan said that he would not remand Mr Pavelka in custody.

However, he told Mr Hassett: "If matters are proven to be unsatisfactory from a public point of view, I will have no hesitation in incarcerating your client for an appropriate period."

Judge Durcan remanded Mr Pavelka on bail to Ennis District Court to May 15.

Irish Independent