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Dad jailed for lighting cigarette in courthouse

A SMOKER who tried to light up in a courthouse during an asthma attack was arrested after he was put out and repeatedly tried to return.

Vincent Murphy (52) admitted a public order offence in the incident, as well as a separate episode in which he hurled abuse at gardai after being put off a bus.

Dublin District Court heard he had a drink problem and his life had become volatile after the ending of a 25-year long engagement to the mother of his three children.

Judge Victor Blake jailed him for four months and fined him €100 after he admitted charges of public intoxication, breach of the peace and failing to obey garda directions.

Gardai were called by staff at Blanchardstown Courthouse an May 13 after Murphy had been asked to leave.

He was attempting to light a cigarette in the foyer and refused to leave. He was in a drunken state and eventually left and lit the cigarette but then tried to regain entrance to the court several times.

On April 22, gardai were called when he refused to get off a Dublin Bus at Liffey Valley. He became verbally abusive to the investigating officers and was arrested and taken to Ronanstown Garda Station.

The court heard he had 146 previous convictions, 101 of which were for public order offences.

Murphy was currently living in Cedar House Hostel and had not worked for a number of years, his barrister Lydia Bunni said.

"He was engaged to the mother of his children for 25 years, that broke down three to four years ago and ever since he's been living from hostel to hostel," she said.

It was a very volatile situation and he had issues with alcohol.

The majority of his social welfare income was going to his children and on paying for accommodation.

In relation to the court incident, Ms Bunni said the accused "suffers from asthma, he was having some sort of attack and didn't have his inhaler with him and was very very panicked".

All his previous convictions were alcohol-related.

Jailing him, Judge Blake remarked that Murphy had a "very, very bad record".