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 yesterday’s district court sitting in Longford.
The judge said that the Irish Prison Service was “banjaxed and broken down” and the Minister for Justice was too busy “writing love books” to have a proper grasp of the drugs problem in Judge Hughes’ 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, “and allowed back into the community to carry out more crimes”. “If Thomas Byrne was released after two days there would be public outcry,” he fumed.
The judge’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.
“This is absolutely crazy inspector; crazy,” fumed Judge Hughes. “So 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.” The judge jailed the defendant for six months, despite the fact that he expects to see him long before then.