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Guilty plea Serving garda charged with breach of Covid-19 rules and being drunk in public after attending a house party


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 Church Street, Dungarvan, was before Dungarvan District Court on Monday morning and pleaded guilty the charges.

The court heard Ms Moore later tried 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 Ms Moore is accused of a breach of regulation to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid-19.

Ms Moore, who is still serving her probation as a guard, has also been hit with with a public order charge for intoxication in a public place.

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 on June 6, and found no sign of an altercation.

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

Ms Moore identified herself as 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.

However, they returned around 5am when Ms Moore had summoned an ambulance for her injured friend, and Inspector Stephen Murphy outlined to the court how, at this point, gardaí felt Ms 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”, the Inspector said. Gardaí told her she needed to exit the ambulance due to Covid restrictions and then decided that Ms Moore posed a danger to herself, and so arrested her under section 4 of the public order act.

After the defence had raised likely “consequences for her professional status”, Judge Terence Finn said Ms Moore’s role as a Garda meant a “raising of the bar” which places her in a “slightly different” position to that of an ordinary member of the public.

“I don’t need to reflect on a certain social event in the west of Ireland,” he added.

While he would consider the Covid breach in a “lenient way” he also had to keep in mind that as a member of An Garda Siochana, she has obligations that are “much more” than members of the public.

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He added that he would not be imposing a jail sentence but needed time to reflect on the case a and adjourned it to June 2.

A request from the defence to donate to the poor box would also be considered.

Defence Barrister Donnchadh Morgan told the court that the defendant had came 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 Ms Moore has no previous convictions and is no longer friends with the injured woman from her birthday celebrations of 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.

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