A NEWCASTLE West man who breached County Limerick’s first ever housing exclusion order has escaped being sent to prison because he intends to leave the country.
John Ryan, 31, was arrested after he was found at his mother’s home at 17 Sharwood, Newcastle West on April 11, despite having been barred from entering both the Sharwood and Castleview estates by Limerick County Council in December.
Ryan, who has 136 previous convictions, pleaded guilty at Newcastle West Court last Thursday to breaching the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, which carries a maximum penalty of up to one year in prison.
However he escaped with just a fine after Judge Mary O’Halloran was told that Ryan intends to leave Ireland when he completes his current eleven-month prison sentence.
Insp Eamon O’Neill told the court that at 2.30pm on April 11 gardai received a call that Ryan was present at his mother’s house in Sharwood. On arriving at the house they found Ryan “extremely intoxicated” inside, and he became “extremely abusive and threatening” to gardai as they tried to arrest him.
Ryan also pleaded guilty to stealing two bottles of Smirnoff cocktails from the Centra supermarket on St Mary’s Road in Newcastle West on April 11. Insp O’Neill said that both these offences took place while Ryan was on temporary release from prison.
Solicitor Michael O’Donnell, defending, said that Ryan’s breach of the exclusion order was “accidental”.
Mr O’Donnell said that Ryan had been on temporary release in order to attend the funeral of his aunt, and had been “drinking for two days”.
On the night of April 10 Ryan had been “drinking so much” that a friend of his collected him and brought him to his mother’s house, without knowing that he had been barred. Ryan had planned on staying at a house in The Paddocks, on the other side of Newcastle West, Mr O’Donnell added.
When the gardai were called to the house, Ryan “wasn’t causing any trouble” but became agitated when they tried to arrest him. “He didn’t deliberately go into the estate”, Mr O’Donnell added.
The court heard that Ryan is due to be released from prison in June, and he is “very anxious to get out of Newcastle West”. Mr O’Donnell said that Ryan is planning to move abroad, first to the UK and then to the Netherlands, in order to work with his uncle.
Mr O’Donnell also handed over €20 in court to cover the cost of the stolen cocktails.
Judge Mary O’Halloran fined Ryan €100 for breaching the exclusion order, and fined him a further €20 for the theft from Centra.
The judge said that she had decided to only fine Ryan and not impose a custodial sentence “so he might move on, and we won’t see him again”.