No counselling for alcoholics in Limerick jail

The interior of Limerick Prison.

THERE is no counselling in Limerick jail for prisoners who are addicted to alcohol, a solicitor informed a judge this week.

Well-known legal aid solicitor Ted McCarthy was making a plea in court in mitigation of a client who had pleaded guilty to a number of offences, including breaches of barring order, assault, and criminal damage.

Mr McCarthy said his client – who cannot be named as the court was held behind closed doors to deal with a family matter – has a very serious drink problem “which he is doing his best to deal with”.

He told Newcastle West District Court that the man had signed into a 12-week residential course for detox and rehab at Cuan Mhuire centre in county Limerick, and had completed that course before going on to work on a Community Employment (CE) Scheme.

The crimes to which he was pleading guilty involved members of his family, who had “been supportive” of his efforts to stop drinking, Mr McCarthy said.

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But after a period in recovery he “took a drink and he cannot take one drink,” Mr McCarthy said.

“He had been sentenced to four months in jail previously and, before he could sign on for another rehab course, he was incarcerated.”

Mr McCarthy said that while his client is in jail, “there is no counselling for his drink problem. The only counselling available in Limerick prison is for drugs. There is none for alcohol addiction,” the solicitor told Judge Carol Anne Coolican.

Judge Coolican said that she wanted the man’s two sisters to be canvassed for victim impact reports before she would make a decision on the penalty.

“He has a litany of breaches of court orders going back to 2018”, the Judge said.

“This insult, injury, hurt and damage cannot continue into the future. He needs to get some assistance for himself and, more importantly, for his family, who have been subjected to his appalling behaviour going back five years.”