Pepper spray used to calm drunk man down

Marisa Reidy

THE public was given an insight into the level of drunkeness gardaí in Ballybunion sometimes have to deal with in the summer, when three men appeared in one sitting of Listowel District Court, all having been arrested for drink-related offences.

The men, all in their 20s, were arrested because Gardaí thought they were a danger to themselves and others, with the court hearing that all three were incoherent and unable to stand unaided.

Patrick Meskell of 17 Shanid Gardens, Shanagolden was arrested on July 2, 2013, after Gardaí found him on Cliff Road 'in an extremely intoxicated state, barely able to stand up and falling over and hurting himself.' When Gardaí arrested him, he lashed out and threw punches - forcing them to pepper spray him to calm him down.

The court was told however, that as soon as he got to the station he apologised and said that he had been drinking all day. He was ordered to pay €500 to the court poor box.

On June 20, 2013, Gardaí in Ballybunion were forced to arrest Andrew Murphy of Low Road, Mountcollins, for his own safety after they found him extremely drunk and unable to stand. His solicitor said that his client's actions were out of character, saying that he has a great employment record but 'things were slack at the time and he had too much time on his hands.' He too was ordered make a contribution of €400 to the court poor box to avoid a conviction.

The court also heard of a third incident in Ballybunion, this time on May 13, 2013, when Gardaí found Daniel Casey of Derra, Brosna, in a highly intoxicated state on Main Street. Superintendent William Leahy said the defendant was incoherent and visibly upset and unable to stand up and was arrested for his own safety.

Solicitor Maurice O'Sullivan said that his client's father had died a few months previously and that he had 'taken to drink' but said he is currently getting treatment.

Hearing that the defendant has 24 previous convictions, Judge James O'Connor convicted him and fined him €150.