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25/09/2021

Longford judge says: ‘We have a wonderful country’ in slamming rising costs to taxpayer for interpreters

Longford Courthouse.

A judge said last week how "we have a wonderful country" as she expressed her frustration at the ever increasing financial burden on taxpayers in picking up the tab for translator costs

“We have a wonderful country,” was the words used by District Court Judge Miriam Walsh last week as she expressed her frustration at the ever increasing financial burden on taxpayers in picking up the tab for translator costs.

Judge Walsh hit out at the growing costs on the Irish Exchequer after hearing how a Slovakian man before the court on alleged theft charges and on social welfare, eleven years after moving to Ireland 11 years ago.

Jozef Milenky, Unit 4 Weaver's Hall, Market Square, Longford, was before the court last week to pay compensation after pleading guilty back in November to the theft of a number of items of post some five months earlier.

In defence, solicitor Frank Gearty said his client was not in a position to hand over €500 in compensation.

“That's the good news from me,” said Mr Gearty, prompting Judge Walsh to ask: “How come all of a sudden he will have it in a week?”

The court was told the reason the accused had come to court with no compensation may have been down to a breakdown in communication.

“My previous letter (to Mr Milenky) before the last one did not have the benefit of google translate,” implied Mr Gearty.
Judge Walsh said she was willing to accept those version of events, but warned the accused the case would be marked for “peremptory” against him if he failed to show up at the next court sitting without the required monies.

In noting how the alleged victim had been in attendance last Tuesday, Judge Walsh told Mr Milenky: “You had better come here and pay up the money next week because I will not have this lady or the State put out again.”

She adjourned the case until a sitting of Longford District Court yesterday (Tuesday) for compensation and full facts of the alleged offences will be heard.

Before doing so, Judge Walsh was asked for a Slovakian interpreter to be certified for in order to translate what is heard in court to the accused.

“We have a wonderful country,” she said as she reluctantly acceded to the request.

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