Judge calls for ‘safe refuge’ outside prison for convicted paedophile

Judge Patrick Durcan says he wanted to get Bedford Row Family Project involved in case

A judge in Co Clare has called for “some safe refuge” outside prison for a convicted paedophile.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan made his comment before ordering the release from custody of Joseph O'Brien (62). He had been in custody on remand for four weeks after breaching the terms of a suspended four-month jail term by not informing gardaí of a change of address.

His solicitor John Casey told the court earlier this month that tabloid interest in the case had made accommodation impossible for his client. However, Mr Casey said on Wednesday his new instructions from Mr O'Brien were that he had some short-term accommodation available. "He is quite confident that if he is there he will be able to arrange accommodation for himself."

Prior to Mr Casey informing the court of the situation, Judge Durcan said he wanted to get the Bedford Row Family Project involved in the case.


Last year Judge Durcan provided €10,000 to the project from the court discretionary fund or “poor box” to help fund its activities.

“The reason why this court has made so much money available to the Bedford Row centre is that we would have somebody to put a hand into a prison and to lead a prisoner out of prison to some place safely. That is what I want done for Mr O’Brien. I want that he is led from prison to some safe refuge.”

There was no representative from the project in court.

Mr Casey said he would provide Mr O’Brien’s new address to the Garda. Releasing Mr O’Brien from custody, Judge Durcan said: “Don’t come back Mr O’Brien, please.”

Earlier this month Mr Casey told Judge Durcan his client was willing to take a jail sentence as he had nowhere to live.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times