Emergency accommodation provided to the homeless in Laois has come in for scathing criticism from Portlaoise's District Court Judge.
Judge Catherine Staines criticised the housing provided by Laois County Council to people at the Mellick Inn in Mountmellick. She noted “rampant drug misuse” is taking place at the hostel.
Her remarks came at last Thursday’s court, in the case of a 22-year-old Laois man charged with theft. He is housed in the Mellick Inn. Judge Staines said that the accused man was a vulnerable adult who was living in a B+B, but he had to leave and was placed in the Mellick Inn, where she said there is a lot of drug and alcohol misuse on the premises.
"The court is trying to help young people and then the council places them in the Mellick Inn,” said the Judge during the sitting on January 24.
“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. This is a man with mental health difficulties.”
A garda sergeant based in Mountmellick who was present at last week’s court agreed that young people should not be housed at the premises, where there is “an open door policy”.
Judge Staines also said she wanted to hear from whoever was responsible for making the decision on what funding support the young man was getting.
Judge Staines said the man who had come before her was not capable of independent living and the psychiatrists were happy to help him.
“That (help) has totally broken down because of his placement in the Mellick Inn. This is a man with mental health difficulties,” she said.
Mountmellick's Garda Sergeant agreed that young people should not be housed at the premises, where there is “an open door policy.”
When contacted for a response by the Leinster Express, Laois County Council provided this statement:
“The Council has no specific comment to make on below. It should be noted that the Council has a statutory responsibility to provide emergency accommodation where available to homeless persons.”