LIMERICK solicitor John Devane has said he has been “forced” to return to court after being out of work for three months, as he can’t afford to lose any more clients.
Mr Devane, who returned to court on Monday morning in a wheelchair, was helped inside the building by one of his well-known clients - Vincent Collopy, from St Mary’s Park.
Mr Collopy, was granted bail in June of last year, on his own bond of nearly €5,000, after being extradited back to Limerick from Bulgaria to face a charge of threatening to kill a State witness.
Mr Devane told the Limerick Leader that while he is due to remain in a wheelchair for another six weeks, due to ongoing health matters, he has had to return to work early as he has lost a significant number of clients in his absence and said he has suffered financially as a result.
“I was diagnosed with gout, and then told I had a form of arthritis. A couple of months later my foot was swollen like a football, and I was referred to the University Hospital in Limerick where I was told I had multiple shattered bones in my foot and that I had been osteomyelitis,” he explained. This is an inflammation of a bone or bone marrow due to an infection.
“Up until a few weeks the hospital was almost certain I was going to lose my leg. They’re not quite certain at the moment, because I’m on a barrage of medication. Please God it will get better. The court is wheelchair accessible thank god.
“I’ve lost a lot of clients, but people need representation. I’m three months behind in my mortgage. I’m in a wheelchair for about another six weeks, and after that I’ll have to have two more operations to put steel plates in my leg.”
Before Judge Marian O’Leary, he said: “I’m sorry I can’t rise Judge. I had to come back Judge; I was afraid all my cases would be given away.”
He was also critical of the court services for not responding to his query to see if anyone else could assist him in making his way into the courthouse.
“I had to make my own arrangements, which I think is unsatisfactory,” he added.