Judge ‘very disappointed’ HSE have not found funds

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Judge Catherine Staines has said she is “very disappointed” in the failure by the HSE to find the money to secure accommodation for a Portlaoise woman, who is currently effectively living in Portlaoise Hospital.

Judge Staines said it was not appropriate for Tina Fee, with an address listed at Apt 1, Garden Green, Garden Village, Portlaoise, to be homed in the hospital, and she expressed her hope that the funding could be secured to secure proper accommodation.

The defendant was appearing at last week’s sitting of Portlaoise District Court for an up-to-date report on her progress.

Fee had previously been convicted of assaulting three nurses in Portlaoise General Hospital. The offences were committed while she was a patient in the psychiatric unit on January 6 last year.

Garda evidence outlined that Fee assaulted three nurses in the bathroom area, kicking two of them, punching them in the body and scraping one on the arm.

There were further charges of assault, criminal damage and obstructing a peace officer, at the general hospital on August 5, 2012; and obstructing a peace officer at the hospital on August 27 that year.

When Fee appeared before Judge Staines in June last year, the judge said that in relation to getting the defendant the proper assistance: “I don’t want this to slip the net.”

One year on, and when Judge Staines last week read the most recent report on Fee she said: “I’m very disappointed that the HSE has not found the funding to shelter Ms Fee. Her probation officer, and the Simon Community, and her mentor, have all identified that she needs to be in sheltered accommodation.”

Judge Staines noted that Fee had experienced “a very difficult upbringing, which led to a drink problem and numerous offences”, and declared:

“If she was receiving the proper care she would not be appearing before this court. All I can do is express my concern that it’s not being addressed.

“She’s being kept effectively in Portlaoise Hospital and that is not an appropriate place. I’ll adjourn this once more and I hope the funding can be secured.”

Judge Staines remanded Fee on continual bail and the matter was put back to July 17.


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