Drunk and Incapable

A young man on the street the other day asked me for 50 cents, the smallest I had in change was a two euro coin, so I gave it to him.  He responded by saying “I only asked you for 50 cents” typical Dublin wit. So I had to explain to him that was the smallest I had.  I had met this man several times before, sometimes he would ask for money but most times he would not and we would just chat for a few minutes.

Mike (not his real name), I asked  “how are you keeping”.  As I got into conversation with Mike on how he was he informed me that he was after spending 5 days in prison.  When I asked for what was he in jail, he told me he was asleep on a park bench in Dublin City and was arrested by a young Garda (Police Officer).  Mike told me after spending five days in jail he then appear in court.  In court he was informed that he was arrested for being drunk and incapable to which Mike informed the Judge that half of Dublin City should be arrested as they would fall into this category.

I think Mike was right if one was to look around our cities especially at the weekends, there are lots of people who could be arrested ?

What constitutes being drunk and incapable?

The official definition of being drunk and incapable is when you are so drunk you are unable to stand or walk or unaware of what you are doing or unable to understand what is said to you.

Where does the personal responsibility rest?

The Judge – imposing a fine of €400 on Mike – what do you think his chances are of paying the fine or drinking the €400 if he had it?  – Possible outcome of this will be Mike will be arrested and imprisonment for not paying his fine.  So what should the Judge do, what options did the Judge have?

Garda (Police Office) – should the Garda not arrest Mike in the first place – what about Mike’s own safety and protection from himself and others that day?  Should the Garda arrest the rest of Dublin City as Mike suggested?  So what should the Garda have done and what options did the Garda have?

Me – Should I be giving Mike more money that day for which he could spend on more drink or food, what options do I have?

Mike – Where is his ownership of his illness and need to seek help?

What are the services in Ireland that exist to manage the care needs of drunk and incapable people?

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Mel Clifford

Experienced coach & consultant dedicated to personal growth. Offering coaching, public speaking, & insightful books on personal development & business management.


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