Judge Seamus Hughes has left the public in no doubt as to the inadequacies within the Irish justice and prison services after an outburst at yesterdayâ€™s district court sitting in Longford.
The judge said that the Irish Prison Service was â€œbanjaxed and broken downâ€ and the Minister for Justice was too busy â€œwriting love booksâ€ to have a proper grasp of the drugs problem in Judge Hughesâ€™ district. The judge also conceded that the district court no longer held any power because those receiving jail terms were being released after two days, â€œand allowed back into the community to carry out more crimesâ€. â€œIf Thomas Byrne was released after two days there would be public outcry,â€ he fumed.
The judgeâ€™s comments came during two cases, the first of which saw a 36-year-old mother of one appear back before him charged with her 44th count of theft.
Meanwhile, the judge was near to losing his reason when a heroin addict appeared before him in the second case, charged with public intoxication at a private estate in Longford town just hours after he was given temporary release from prison.
â€œThis is absolutely crazy inspector; crazy,â€ fumed Judge Hughes. â€œSo a person can now go out into community, commit an offence, go back into prison and get out again? The Minister [justice] knows absolutely nothing about this case - he is too busy writing love books or whatever else he does to know about the drug dealing on the streets of Longford and Athlone.â€ The judge jailed the defendant for six months, despite the fact that he expects to see him long before then.