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stuck for words Teen fined for repeatedly singing Fields of Athenry at cops and told to learn all the words

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Newry Magistrate's Court

Newry Magistrate's Court

Newry Magistrate's Court

A judge has told a Newry teenager he hopes his time in a young offenders centre will inspire him to learn the words to the Fields of Athenry.

Newry Magistrate’s Court heard how Thomas Martin (19), who appeared today via video link, repeatedly sang the traditional Irish ballad to police officers after he was arrested for resisting and obstructing police on June 5 last year.

Martin later pleaded guilty to both charges.

With an address at Parkhead Crescent in the city, it was heard how Martin had been mixing with a number of older males who had been drinking in public on that date.

When the police approached the men, Martin became “obnoxious” and began repeatedly singing the Fields of Athenry, continuing to do so even when he had been warned to stop, before eventually being arrested.

The teen’s defence solicitor, Ciaran Downey, explained to the court how his client had spent his life in care and had no family.

He added: “I have seen the body worn camera footage. He (Martin) became involved in something that had nothing to do with him.

“A bit of bravado, showing his youth. The incident was more of a drunken struggle rather than any real intent.

“He has one similar record from last year. He had previously moved to Portstewart to take up some work. He was then held on remand in another matter.”

Responding to Martin’s repeated rendition of the Fields of Athenry, a song written about a fictional man who stole food to feed his family during the famine before being sent to a penal colony in Australia, Judge Eamonn King said: “Does he know it well? He might in Hydebank (young offenders centre) learn the entire lyrics to the song.

“He can then sing it with the correct reflection of the sentiments contained in the song.”

Martin was fined £610, as well as an offenders levy and told to learn the full song.

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