Man gets six months for striking social welfare staff member

Leader Reporter

Reporter:

Leader Reporter

Newcastle West Court
A 34-year-old man who assaulted a member of staff at the social welfare office in Newcastle West has been sentenced to six months in prison for the offence.

A 34-year-old man who assaulted a member of staff at the social welfare office in Newcastle West has been sentenced to six months in prison for the offence.

Jimmy Sheehan, of Nash’s Flats, Maiden Street, Newcastle West had no recollection of the event, which occurred on the morning of April 1, because he was drunk, his solicitor said.

Mr Sheehan also pleaded guilty to three other public order offences on dates in the past year, including one incident in Abbeyfeale on September 13 last year in which he broke the window of a house, causing €50 worth of damage.

Solicitor John Lynch told Newcastle West district court that Mr Sheehan’s problems all stemmed from alcohol, which was a “common thread” in all the incidents.

“He can’t remember either incident and he apologises,” Mr Lynch told Judge Aeneas McCarthy.

He described Mr Sheehan as “something of an unfortunate case” who lives alone in a flat in Newcastle West and is in receipt of social welfare.

Inspector Brian O’Donovan gave evidence that the defendant had gone into the social welfare office in Newcastle West on the morning of April 1 last where he struck a female member of staff in the face.

He was subsequently arrested at the scene and taken to Newcastle West garda station.

Referring to the incident on September 13, Insp O’Donovan told the court that gardai had been called to the scene of an incident in Abbeyfeale where a number of witnesses identified Mr Sheehan as having broken the window of a house in the town. Gardai followed him and found him in an “intoxicated state”.

He added that the defendant had 21 previous convictions for offences including public order, assault and damage to property.

In imposing a six month sentence for the assault charge, the judge took account of the defendant’s guilty plea and the mitigating circumstances.

He also imposed a four-month sentence for the criminal damage incident in Abbeyfeale. He ordered that both sentences run consecutively and that the defendant receive the appropriate medical care for his addiction problems while in prison.