Judge left 'bewildered’ as Longford court hears how man living in country for past 15 years 'can't speak word of English'

'You mean to say he goes shopping, goes to the pub and still can’t speak, my God', fumes judge

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford Courthouse.

The cost of providing interpreters at Longford courts came under the microscope this week

The cost of providing interpreters at Longford courts came under the microscope this week when a judge hit out at how she had been left “bewildered” by how a Ukranian turf picker living in the country for the past 15 years “couldn’t speak” a word of English.

Judge Miriam Walsh made the remarks at a recent sitting of Longford District Court while dealing with an Eastern European man who came before her on drink driving and criminal damage charges.

Jurijus Zuckovas, Longford Road, Lanesboro, was charged with the offences, including allegedly damaging a mirror and wing mirror of a car on February 18 2020 at SuperValu, Main Street, Lanesboro.

The 54-year-old came before the court to defend himself and with a male associate who attempted to provide assistance as the case was presented.

When it emerged Mr Zuckovas plied his trade as a seasonal turf picker, his friend told Judge Walsh he was unaware of what was being discussed despite being resident in Ireland since 2005.

It was a claim which drew a terse and cutting reaction from Judge Walsh.

“It’s bewildering someone can be living in Ireland for 15 years and he has to bring a friend along for the most basic of basics,” she said.

“You mean to say he goes shopping, goes to the pub and still can’t speak, my God.”

In certifying a translator to attend a court sitting in February when the case is returned, Judge Walsh expressed her dismay at the apparent high number of people living in Longford that were unable to communicate effectively.

“I presume you have Lithuanian and Slovakian interpreters living down here (in Longford) because it would be pointless bringing them down from Dublin,” she asked.