Disability payments allow teenager to fund drug habit

Judge Patrick Durcan says report on 17-year-old ‘shocking’

A judge has said that the weekly disability payment of €188 from the Department of Social Protection to a child since the age of 16 has enabled the boy to fund his drug habit.

At the Children's Court in Ennis, Judge Patrick Durcan said he found "shocking, absolutely shocking" the contents of a Probation Service report on the 17 year old who has been diagnosed with a severe form of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

In court, Judge Durcan read out the relevant extract from the Probation Service report stating that the boy “has been in receipt of €188 disability allowance since he turned 16 years old. The Probation Service believe that this money was a contributory factor towards the availability of drugs for him as a young person who would not otherwise have access to such money”.

The judge said: “What is truly shocking is here we have a child being paid money by the State of a very considerable amount from the age of 16 to enable him to fund his drug habit.”

Solicitor for the teenager, Tara Godfrey, told the court that “it is completely perverse in my eyes that he is receiving €188 per week since the age of 16, I can’t understand it”.

Probation Service officer, Blathnaid Connolly agreed with Judge Durcan that the payment of the disability money was “a very significant factor” in the boy’s ability to purchase drugs.