Sadly a bit Late to Cop on Now, Where from Here?

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COP ON Garda fined €1,000 after being found drunk in public during birthday party Covid breach

Judge Terence Finn said the “novelty” of the matters required reflection on the full circumstances

Garda Aoife Moore. Picture: Patrick Browne

Garda Aoife Moore. Picture: Patrick Browne

June 02 2021 02:22 PM

A PROBATIONARY garda who admitted a breach of Covid-19 regulations and being intoxicated in public after a 27th birthday party resulted in gardaí being called twice to a property in Waterford was fined €1,000.

Garda Aoife Moore (27) was told by Judge Terence Finn at Dungarvan District Court that the matter did not require a custodial sentence – but said he could not “go down the road” of a contribution to the court’s poor box.

Ms Moore’s legal team had urged that the matter be dealt with by Probation Act and a donation to the Garda Benevolent Fund.

The court was previously told that the matter could now have consequences for Mr Moore’s career.

Judge Finn said the court wanted to see justice done and was mindful of the facts involved including Ms Moore’s plea, her lack of previous convictions and good behaviour since the incident.

He said the “novelty” of the matters required reflection on the full circumstances.

Given the facts, he said a €1,000 fine was appropriate.

“The court is aware of similar proceedings being taken around the country.”

Ms Moore, who is from west Waterford, pleaded guilty to two charges before the court last month.

She appeared in court wearing a black jacket and slacks and did not speak during the hearing.

The charges involved a breach of Covid-19 restrictions contrary to Section 31 of the Health Act and being intoxicated in public.

Regulations were introduced last year to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid-19.

The latter charge arose from an incident on June 7, 2020 when Ms Moore attempted to gain entry to the back of an ambulance where paramedics were assisting a friend who had been injured at the birthday party.

Judge Finn was previously told the charges arose from incidents where gardaí were twice called to a property at Cluain na Gréine in the west Waterford town last June.

Gardaí first attended the property at 11.30pm amid reports that an incident had occurred.

Officers found no indication of an altercation.

They discovered the party was being held to mark Ms Moore’s 27th birthday.

She identified herself to officers as a serving garda.

While officers noted that one party goer was injured, they were informed this was unconnected to any altercation.

The party goer had an injury to their leg.

Having satisfied themselves that the person was fine, gardaí left the property.

However, gardaí were called back to the house at 5am after Ms Moore had become concerned for her injured friend and decided she needed medical attention.

Inspector Stephen Murphy said that, on attending, gardaí felt Ms Moore was “highly intoxicated” and “unsteady” on her feet.

Despite requests for paramedics to be allowed perform their duties, Ms Moore attempted to enter the back of the ambulance.

At one point, there were concerns she might topple out the rear of the ambulance.

Gardaí reminded Ms Moore of the Covid-19 regulations and that she needed to remove herself from the ambulance and the scene.

Later, officers decided she was a potential danger to herself and others and arrested her under Section 4 of the Public Order Act.

Judge Finn noted that, because of Ms Moore’s profession as a serving garda, the bar was set higher.

He said she was effectively in a slightly different position to an ordinary member of the public.

Defence barrister, Donnchadh Morgan BL, said his client had lived for a time with her family in the United States but had always dreamed of being a garda.

She had returned to Ireland and even employed a personal trainer so she could meet the personal fitness requirements of the force.

Ms Moore had even undertaken training as an emergency medical technician to strengthen her garda recruitment application.

He pointed out that, the day after the incident, his client had gone to Dungarvan Garda Station to personally apologise to the officers involved.

Mr Morgan said his client had no previous convictions, was of exemplary behaviour and had acquitted herself well as a trainee garda.

He said she had voluntarily undergone cognitive behavioural therapy.

She was no longer friendly with the woman who had gotten injured at the birthday party.

Further, he said his client had not touched alcohol since that event and had gone to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

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