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Mayo judge apologises for Polish ‘social welfare’ comment

Judge Mary Devins of Castlebar District Court reportedly compared the social welfare system to a charity for Poles.

Judge Mary Devins made her comments at Castlebar District Court (pictured) last week.
Judge Mary Devins made her comments at Castlebar District Court (pictured) last week.
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A DISTRICT COURT judge has apologised for comments she made last week, when she compared the social welfare system to a charity for Polish people.

Judge Mary Devins made the comments at Castlebar District Court last Friday, when presiding over a sentencing involving a man who had been charged with public order offences after verbally assaulting a doorman at a pub.

The Mayo News reports that the man, who was drunk, was denied access to a late bar in July 2011 and had to be restrained by a member of security staff who he then called a “fat Polish f****r… You fat Polish prick.” The doorman was, in fact, Irish.

At a previous hearing in October, another judge had agreed to dismiss the charges under the Probation Act if the accused donated €1,000 to a Polish charity – leading to Friday’s hearing, when Judge Devins was told that time had been given to decide on a suitable Polish charity.

“There is – it’s called social welfare,” the Mayo News quoted her as saying.

This evening Judge Devins said her comment had been made “in the context of – and alluding to – another recent, violent, alcohol fuelled incident”.

That case had involved “several defendants of Polish origin who were all recipients of social welfare payments”, she said.

The comment was intended to be specific to that incident and occurrence and was never intended to offend any community, or members of any community

If insult was taken from my comment I apologise for same.

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Gavan Reilly

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