Man jailed for hurling racial abuse at Emergency Department staff

Limerick District Court

A MAN who hurled racial abuse at staff in the Emergency Department (ED) of University Hospital Limerick (UHL) told a court that he didn’t remember doing it or even why he had gone there in the first place.

Hugh McGrath (39), with an address at McGarry House in Limerick City, pleaded guilty to the public order offences which got him arrested at the Dooradoyle hospital on March 29 last.

Limerick District Court heard evidence that Gardaí were called to the ED where they observed Mr McGrath to be intoxicated and behaving aggressively, advising that he was a danger to himself.

Judge Patricia Harney was told that the accused had been abusing staff and other people in the waiting room and that he had made racially insulting remarks to a security guard.

Mr McGrath apologised through his solicitor to anyone he had offended but said he didn’t remember his actions on the night. The court was told that while Mr McGrath thought he may have gone to the ED for treatment, he couldn’t remember anything.

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His solicitor, Darrach McCarthy, told the court of Mr McGrath, “his issue is drink”.

“He has no recall of what happened. He apologises to all members of staff and to anyone that he caused upset to.”

Mr McCarthy said his client has been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to receive help, but that he had not been in any residential treatment course for his problems.

Describing his behaviour in the hospital as “completely disgraceful”, Judge Harney sentenced Mr McGrath to one month in jail on that charge.

She also sentenced him to a total of 12 days consecutive to that sentence for a number of charges of failing to appear in court.