A district court judge has expressed her opinion that perhaps the courts should lock up more people to tackle the problem of drug use.
At Portlaoise District Court, Olag Besekerskig (20), 16 Broomville Close, Portlaoise, was charged with drug possession, at the Town Park, Portlaoise, on April 21 this year.
Inspector Brian Farrell gave evidence the accused was caught with €40 of cannabis. He had one previous conviction for drug possession, going back to 2017.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said that the accused, a Latvian national living in Ireland for ten years, had been dabbling with cannabis, using it on and off as a recreational drug.
Judge Deirdre Gearty said it would be very easy to just impose a second fine, but asked whether maybe the accused had addiction issues that needed to be addressed.
Mr Meagher said the accused would give up cannabis.
Judge Gearty told the accused he was a very young man to be racking up these convictions.
The judge went on to say that there was a serious situation where young people had died recently from drug use. She said that fines were not the answer to drug charges and families all over the country have suffered from this problem.
“I’m a mother and grandmother and this is really serious,” said Judge Gearty.
The judge said that she and her colleagues had been discussing the issue and asked: “Do we need to start putting people in jail?”
In the circumstances, Judge Gearty convicted and fined the accused €350.