Musical homeless man facing threat charge tells Cork court it's his choice not to claim social welfare

It emerged during a bail application he does not avail of hostel accommodation and has not applied for social welfare
Musical homeless man facing threat charge tells Cork court it's his choice not to claim social welfare

Paul Daly, from Wexford, did not want a solicitor to represent him in Cork District Court and was not inclined to accept Judge Olann Kelleher’s offer to direct him to the Probation Service for help.

A 36-year-old homeless man who is pursuing a career in music said in relation to an allegation he was threatening or abusive in Cork city centre on Sunday: “I was singing.”

Paul Daly, from Wexford, did not want a solicitor to represent him in Cork District Court and was not inclined to accept Judge Olann Kelleher’s offer to direct him to the Probation Service for help.

It emerged during a bail application he does not avail of hostel accommodation and has not applied for social welfare. He faces a charge of engaging in threatening or abusive behaviour at St Patrick Street.

Judge Kelleher asked him: “Where do you live — in doorways?”

Daly nodded: “All over the city… I am living on the streets — bags and bins, anywhere.”

“Why don’t you get social welfare?” asked Judge Kelleher

Daly replied: “It’s a choice.”

Asked if had any health concerns, Daly said he had not but that he was previously an addict. He eventually agreed to have a solicitor represent him at Cork District Court on free legal aid. He told this solicitor, Diarmuid Kelleher, that this addiction had been “to everything”.

He said he was not addicted anymore. Asked if he was getting help from anyone in getting clear of addiction, he said: “Meself.”

Faced with a Garda objection to him being granted bail, Daly said he would turn up in court if granted bail and told Judge Kelleher: “It is a career in music I am chasing.”

Asked what sort of music,” Daly replied: “From my heart.”

Judge Kelleher said: “I am going to grant him bail.”

Turning to the accused, the judge said, “You might not be coping well. Could you be coping better? I am not being smart. I have great sympathy for you.”

The 36-year-old said: “I appreciate that.” Judge Kelleher released Daly on bail to appear on the threatening charge on January 19.

“Where do you play,” the judge asked the defendant in relation to his busking.

Daly replied: “All around the city. I have a guitar. But for the last four months I am just dancing and singing.”

Judge Kelleher asked: “Irish dancing?”

Daly laughed and replied: “No. Hip-hop.”

Judge Kelleher said: “I hope you turn up on Thursday. I don’t want you in jail.”

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