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09 Aug 2022

Laois judge hits out at 'rampant drug misuse' in emergency council accommodation

Homelessness

Laois judge hits out at 'Rampant drug misuse' in emergency council accommodation

Portlaoise District Court Judge Catherine Staines has criticised the housing by Laois County Council of vulnerable young people at the Mellick Inn in Mountmellick, where she noted “rampant drug misuse” is taking place.

Her remarks came in the case of Edward O’Donovan, 22, with a previous address in Borris in Ossory, charged with theft, and two counts of assault, at Tesco, Portlaoise, on April 1 last year.

After reading a probation report on the accused, Judge Catherine Staines said that the accused is a vulnerable adult who was placed in the Mellick Inn, where there is a lot of drug and alcohol misuse on the premises.

She said this confirmed what other young people had told her about the “rampant drug misuse” at this location.

““The court is trying to help young people and then the council places them in the Mellick Inn,” said Judge Staines.

A garda sergeant based in Mountmellick agreed that young people should not be housed at the premises, where there is “an open door policy”.

Said Judge Staines: “This man is not capable of independent living and the psychiatrists were happy to help him, but that has totally broken down because of his placement in the Mellick Inn.”

Solicitor, Mr Declan Breen explained that an application had been made for funded support for the accused, but this application “ran into the sand” has no agency or organisation had picked up on the tender.

To this, Judge Staines said that the accused had very few managing difficulties and she could not believe that no one had tendered to help.

She said that she wanted whoever is in charge of the funding decision to come to court, telling Mr Breen that as the accused’s solicitor he was to find out who is responsible and issue a witness summons. The matter was adjourned to February 14.

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