'very apologetic' | 

Woman (33) caught with screwdriver after threats to Leo Varadkar was making ‘a cry for help’

Sinead Keogh pleaded guilty to possessing a screwdriver as a weapon during the incident on Molesworth Street.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Tom TuiteSunday World

A DUBLIN woman arrested near Leinster House armed with a screwdriver after “threats to harm” Tanaiste Leo Varadkar was making “a cry for help”, a court has heard.

Dublin District Court heard that Sinead Keogh, 33, of Glin Crescent, Coolock, had suffered mental health problems and was attempting to draw attention to herself at the time.

She pleaded guilty to possessing a screwdriver as a weapon during the incident on July 21 on Molesworth Street.

She was on bail at the time and spent five weeks in custody until she was released last Thursday. She also admitted another similar offence for having a screwdriver as a weapon at Kildare Street on an earlier date.

She breached conditions and broke a previous order to stay away from the building during the latest incident.

The court heard she had been held earlier in the day under Mental Health Act.

But a doctor found self-inflicted superficial cuts to her arm to be "attention seeking" and held that she should not be admitted to hospital.

The court heard that she rang a crisis centre and threatened to attack a government member.

Garda Mark O'Neill said the woman was arrested in the vicinity of Leinster House and “made threats to harm Leo Varadkar”. She handed over the screwdriver and was arrested.

Brian Lindsay BL, defending, said Keogh was very apologetic. She had no prior criminal convictions.

Describing the incident as a "cry for help," counsel said Keogh had been diagnosed with mental health problems and had not taken her medication at the time.

The court heard she is now continuing to accept help and has family support.

Counsel said the five weeks in custody was her first experience of jail and the scariest time of her life.

Since getting bail last week, she obeyed conditions to follow the directions of her medical practitioners, stay out of Dublin 1 and Dublin 2 in the city centre, and obey a curfew from 6.30 pm to 6 am.

Judge Grainne Malone said she had to balance the serious nature of the location and what the defendant said against Keogh's mental health issues. She also noted the impact custody had on the accused.

Sentencing was adjourned until a date in November for psychiatric and probation reports to be prepared.

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