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Garda (27) fined €1,000 for breaching Covid-19 restrictions last summer

Garda Aoife Moore (27) received a combined €1,000 fine for the breach alongside a charge for being intoxicated in public.

Image: PA

A PROBATIONARY GARDA has escaped a jail sentence for breaching Covid-19 restrictions.

Garda Aoife Moore (27) from Church Street, Dungarvan instead received a combined €1,000 fine for the breach alongside a charge for being intoxicated in public.

Garda Moore was before Dungarvan District Court this morning having previously pleaded guilty to attending a house party and later entering the back of an ambulance carrying an injured friend.

Gardaí had called twice to the house in the early hours last June where revellers were marking Moore’s birthday.

The incidents fall under pandemic legislation introduced last year – section 31 of the Health Act – under which Moore was charged with a breach of regulation to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid-19.

Moore also previously pleaded to a public order charge for intoxication in a public place.

Judge Terence Finn cited Moore’s membership of An Garda Síochána as significant in making his decision, noting that the public are expected to comply with health regulations and so are gardaí.

During the previous sitting last month, the defence had raised likely “consequences for Ms Moore’s professional status”, however Judge Finn had said at the time that her job meant a “raising of the bar” which places her in a “slightly different” position to that of an ordinary member of the public.

In court today, he said he wanted to a strike a “balance” and find a “quantum of parity” in his verdict, and took into account that the incident had occurred against the background of the pandemic, as well as Moore’s record of no previous convictions.

Judge Finn was satisfied in not handing down a custodial sentence but dealt a combined €1,000 fine for the two offences with six months to pay.

When queried by the defence, the judge confirmed he was not considering a donation to the poor box as payment.

Background

The case arose after Gardaí were called twice to a house in Cluain Na Greine, Dungarvan, following reports of an altercation last June. They first responded around 11.30pm 6 June, and found no sign of an altercation.

Moore had identified herself as a a serving Garda to officers, but gardaí noticed that a resident at the house was injured. It was denied that this was connected to the reports of the prior altercation and gardaí left the house.

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However, gardaí returned at around 5am when Moore had summoned an ambulance for her injured friend, and, during a previous sitting last month, Inspector Stephen Murphy outlined to the court how gardaí felt Moore was “highly intoxicated” and “unsteady” on her feet.

She then entered the back of the ambulance along with her friend, but “nearly fell out of the back”, the Inspector had said. Gardaí told her she needed to exit the ambulance due to Covid restrictions and then decided that Moore posed a danger to herself, and so arrested her under section 4 of the public order act.

Barrister Donnchadh Morgan has previously told the court that the defendant had returned 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.

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

He added that Moore is no longer friends with the injured woman from her birthday celebrations of a year ago and has not drank alcohol since the night in question, using the time to undergo over 30 sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy, along with becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.

About the author:

Eoghan Dalton

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