24 May 2022
Judge 'sick' of defendants seeking court translators: 'No need when they go buy hooch’
A Judge has been strongly criticised for saying she was “sick to the back teeth” of defendants looking for interpreters to assist them in court proceedings when they have been living in Ireland for years.
The remarks by Miriam Walsh, a District Court judge, have been described as “reckless and unhelpful” by the Irish Network Against Racism (INAR), which said they underlined the need for specialist training for members of the judiciary.
They came in a case in which a foreign national living in Ireland for the past five years sought the assistance of an interpreter when he appeared in court on assault charges.
The 24-year-old man had pleaded guilty to assaulting two people in a takeaway restaurant and threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour while drunk.
Judge Walsh noted that interpreter costs were funded by the taxpayer and said: “They have no need for an interpreter when they go to buy their hooch. They don’t need assistance when they’re signing on for social welfare.”
She continued: “While he might have very little recollection of what happened, his two victims have.
“He’s been living in Ireland for the past five years and he wants an interpreter.
“He didn’t need an interpreter with him when he went to buy his drink, or when he goes shopping. They know more English than we know ourselves.
“I’m sick to the back teeth of people hiding behind interpreters. He beat the sugar out of two people who were just doing their job that night.” […]