Services refused to work with Traveller man due to court charges

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Services refused to work with Traveller man due to court charges

A Portlaoise man was unable to complete his restorative justice programme as no services were prepared to work with a member of the Travelling community who had been before the courts on animal cruelty charges.

Judge Catherine Staines said that it was very unfortunate that none of the services were prepared to give an opportunity to Patrick McInerney (37), 71 Cosby Avenue, Fairgreen, Portlaoise, who was charged with trespass, at Killone, Laois, on a date between June 16 and June 24 last.

Judge Staines said the accused had previously been detected pulling a sulky with a horse. He was directed to engage with the restorative justice programme and he made contact with various services who care for animals, but no service would give him an opportunity.

Judge Staines said that none of the services had been willing to have a member of the Travelling community working with animals, especially one who was before the courts on an animal cruelty charge.

Reading from the restorative justice report, Judge Staines noted that there had been nothing available for the accused in Portlaoise, so he was given the number of a horse shelter in Dublin. He subsequently attended in Dublin, but no representative of the horse shelter turned up as they didn’t think it was appropriate for a member of their board to assist a Traveller man who had been charged with animal cruelty.

Judge Staines said the accused had since paid €150 to the ISPCA and completed a number of workshops.

Solicitor, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said the accused had the balance of €50 in court, which was also directed to go to the ISPCA.

Judge Staines said the accused had done everything he could to educate himself and do courses, and it was very unfortunate that he had not been given an opportunity to do the services available.

The judge applied the probation act, section 1.2.