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Up to 40 people attended ‘prisoner release party’ during Level 5 lockdown in Clare

Garda said that on the night, she was approached by a Rose Joyce (53) who said that she was staging the event ‘for a son who was released from prison earlier that day’

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Thirty to 40 people were present in a marquee for a late night ‘prisoner release party’ going at ‘full throttle’ that took place during a Covid-19 Level 5 lockdown, a court has heard

At Ennis District Court, Sgt Claire Heneghan told the court that she observed flashing disco lights, very loud music with most of the 30 to 40 people consuming alcohol at St Enda’s, Beechpark on the outskirts of Ennis at 10.37pm when she first called to the address on February 8, 2021.

Sgt Heneghan said that on the night, she was approached by a Rose Joyce (53) who said that she was staging the event "for a son who was released from prison earlier that day”.

In court, Ms Joyce - who lives at the address - denied saying this and also denied staging an organised event at the halting site in breach of Covid-19 health regulations when such gatherings were banned.

The country was in a Covid-19 Level 5 lockdown at the time and Judge Alec Gabbett convicted Ms Joyce of staging the event in contravention of Covid-19 regulations and fined her €200.

Judge Gabbett said that Sgt Heneghan “had been more than fair to Ms Joyce on the night”.

He said: “When Sgt Heneghan called at 10.37pm the party was at half throttle and Sgt Heneghan had asked Ms Joyce to turn the music down but when she returned at 11.37pm the party was at full throttle”.

Judge Gabbett said that when Sgt Heneghan called at 11.37pm “the party was still going hard and heavy”.

Sgt Heneghan said that she called at 11.37pm, the disco lights were still flashing and the music was still very loud. Sgt Heneghan stated that she returned after Gardai received numerous complaints about loud music at the address.

Sgt Heneghan said that she directed that the party cease and people were to leave.

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The sergeant said that she was satisfied that an illegal organised event was taking place in breach of Covid-19 regulations.

Sgt Heneghan told the court that Ms Joyce - represented by solicitor, Tara Godfrey - told her that she would have the music turned down but said she wasn’t doing anything wrong as it was all the one family.

However, the Garda Sergeant said that despite the request that the party cease, it continued for a number of hours until the early hours.

Sgt Heneghan told the court that she issued a Fixed Charge Penalty Notice to Ms Joyce the following day and it remains unpaid resulting in the issuing of the court summons.


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