A 40-year-old man in the grips of severe alcoholism presented for sentencing in very poor health at Cork District Court where he said he had not slept in three days and had not eaten anything for about a week.
Gardaí prosecuting the case, defence solicitor Frank Buttimer and Judge Olann Kelleher were all in agreement that the accused man – Finbarr Geary – appeared to be very unwell.
Mr Buttimer said Geary was experiencing chronic, untreated alcoholism. “His health is now of great concern.”
Geary has numerous convictions for public order offences but he said gardaí “wind me up when they see me drunk.”
Judge Kelleher said, “So you don’t take any responsibility?” Geary replied, “I do. I should not be drinking. I didn’t sleep in three days and I haven’t eaten anything in about a week.”
Earlier in the week, the defendant was given a room in Simon but he said he could not sleep and he just stayed up watching telly in the TV room.
Mr Buttimer said that as soon as Geary was taken into custody earlier in the week he was taken to Cork University Hospital and was now back in Cork Prison where he remains ill but was being treated well.
“He has reached his lowest ebb in relation to alcohol. Speaking to him today he realises that,” the solicitor said.
Judge Kelleher sentenced him to a total of two months in prison for being threatening and abusive and a previously suspended sentence was activated and made consecutive. It leaves the accused facing a four-month sentence.
Judge Kelleher said, “He is a most pleasant man when he is here when he is sober. But he has to take a decision about what is the way forward for him.”
Mr Buttimer said recently, “He has chronic alcoholism which is untreated. He has been living between the streets and hostel accommodation and has made some unsuccessful efforts to deal with his alcohol problem. But it has a very bad grip on him.”