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Garda charged with breaking Covid restrictions and being drunk in public after attending house party

The charges relate to an incident in Dungarvan last year.

Image: Brian Lawless/PA

A SERVING GARDA has appeared in court in Co Waterford charged in relation to a breach of Covid-19 restrictions and being drunk in public after attending a house party.

Garda Aoife Moore (27) from Dungarvan appeared before Dungarvan District Court this morning and pleaded guilty to trying to enter the back of an ambulance carrying an injured friend.

The charge falls under Covid legislation introduced last year – Section 31 of the Health Act – under which Moore is accused of a breach of regulation to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid-19.

Moore, who is still serving her probation as a guard, has also been charged with a public order offence for being intoxicated in a public place.

The case arose after gardaí were called twice to a house in Cluain Na Greine in Dungarvan following reports of an altercation on 6 June last year.

They first responded to the house at 11.30pm and found no sign of an altercation.

Those present had been celebrating the birthday of Moore, a probationary garda based in Waterford city.

Moore identified herself as a serving garda to officers, but gardaí noticed that a resident at the house was injured. They left after it was denied that the person’s injury was connected to the reports of the prior altercation.

However, they returned at around 5am after Moore summoned an ambulance for her injured friend. Inspector Stephen Murphy told the court how, at this point, gardaí felt Moore was “highly intoxicated” and “unsteady” on her feet.

She then tried to enter the back of the ambulance along with her friend, but “nearly fell out of the back”, Murphy said.

Gardaí told Moore that she needed to leave the ambulance due to Covid restrictions and then decided that Moore posed a danger to herself, before arresting her under Section 4 of the Public Order Act.

Consequences for status

The defence said the case would like raise “consequences for [Moore's] professional status”.

Barrister Donnchadh Morgan told the court that the defendant had come to Ireland in recent years after living in America with her family, and was determined to become a garda, employing a personal trainer to meet the fitness requirements and completing an emergency medical technician course to help achieve this.

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Following her encounter with her colleagues, she apologised to the Dungarvan station the next evening.

Counsel added that Moore has no previous convictions and is no longer friends with the woman who was injured at her birthday celebrations a year ago.

She has also not drank alcohol since the night in question and has undergone over 30 sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy, along with becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

However, judge Terence Finn said Moore’s role as a garda meant a “raising of the bar” which placed her in a “slightly different” position to that of an ordinary member of the public.

Although he said he would consider the Covid breach in a “lenient way”, the judge noted that he also had to keep in mind that Moore, as a member of An Garda Síochána, had obligations that are “much more” than members of the public.

He added that he would not be imposing a jail sentence and consider a request from the defence to donate to the poor box. He adjourned the case until 2 June.

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Eoghan Dalton

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