Vulnerable Abbeyleix man being used - Judge

An Abbeyleix man charged with numerous thefts described by Judge Catherine Staines as “a vulnerable young man” appeared at last week’s district court, where the judge ruled she wanted a local homeless action group to endeavour to help the man secure assisted living accommodation.

Sean McHugh, 8 Temperance Street, Abbeyleix, was convicted last May of burglary, possession of knives and criminal damage, at Walshs Shop, Durrow, on April 22, 2013.

He also broke into the Sue Ryder shop, Main Street, Abbeyleix, on April 1 and April 19, and committed a burglary at the Jade Palace Chinese restaurant in Abbeyleix on April 20. The case was adjourned in May for a probation report, and for McHugh to pay compensation.

At last week’s court, Judge Staines read the reports on McHugh and stated: “Clearly this is a vulnerable young man, the doctor has recommended he be put in a supervised setting to prepare him for assisted living.”

The judge inquired as to when the Laois Homeless Action Team would be dealing with McHugh. She was informed by the probation officer that the team would be meeting in the coming week, and the Respond housing association have a housing scheme in Abbeyleix for people with special needs for which McHugh may be suitable for.

Judge Staines said this case needed immediate action.

“These are very serious charges, you could go to prison,” the judge warned McHugh. “You cannot take drugs anymore, that’s what is getting you into trouble.”

Judge Staines adjourned the case for one month, to await the outcome of the Homeless Action Team meeting.

“He should get a place away from Portlaoise and the people who are clearly using him,” she said.

Further charges of theft and criminal damage at the Hibernian Hotel, Abbeyleix, and criminal damage and burglary at a local bookmakers, have gone back to April 3.


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