Charity volunteers abused and threatened on Cork street for no reason 

Charity volunteers abused and threatened on Cork street for no reason 
The Cork Simon shelter on Anderson's QuayPicture: Eddie O'Hare

A GROUP of night time volunteers helping homeless people on the streets of Cork had to contend with a man who became abusive towards them for no reason.

Joseph (also known as William) O’Driscoll, who was resident at Cork Simon Community, pleaded guilty today to a charge of engaging in threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to lead to a breach of the peace.

Judge Olann Kelleher commented at Cork District Court, “That is an absolutely terrible thing to do to people who are out helping vulnerable people in society – to be going around threatening them.” 

Judge Kelleher jailed O’Driscoll for three months for the offence.

Sergeant John Kelleher said the incident that gave rise to this threatening charge occurred at 10.30pm on October 25 on Patrick Street, Cork.

“He was drunk and causing serious nuisance to volunteers helping the homeless. He was considered a danger to himself and others. He was just causing a nuisance,” Sgt Kelleher said.

Frank Buttimer, defence solicitor, said that as well as pleading guilty to that charge he was pleading guilty to being drunk and a danger to himself or others on the occasion.

There was another more recent incident where he was drunk and a danger at Oscar’s hostel on Lower Glanmire Road, Cork, on December 5.

“He was carrying an empty rum bottle and he was arrested for his own safety,” Sgt. Kelleher said.

O’Driscoll, aged 36, had 143 previous convictions including 52 counts of being drunk and a danger and 21 of engaging in threatening behaviour.

The sentence imposed today was backdated to last week when he went into custody.

Mr Buttimer said, “He wanted to go into custody. Alcohol had gotten the better of him last week and he needed to go into custody. It was the only place he could successfully dry out.

“When he is off drink he does not get into trouble. All of his previous offending is alcohol-related.”

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