A district judge has adjourned a court case where a serving garda was found intoxicated in public and in breach of Covid-19 regulations after attending a house party last year.

Aoife Moore, 27, of Church Street, Dungarvan, Co Waterford, pleaded guilty to being intoxicated in public, contrary to Section 4 of the Public Order Act; and a breach of the new Covid-19 legislation, to prevent, limit, minimise or slow spread of the coronavirus at Cluain na Greine, Dungarvan, on 7 June 2020.

Inspector Stephen Murphy told a special sitting of Dungarvan District Court today, that gardaí attended the Cluain na Greine housing estate after reports of an altercation.

The court heard that a party was taking place at a house in the estate to celebrate Aoife Moore's birthday.

Insp Murphy said when gardaí arrived at the estate at 11.30pm on the night of 6 June, there was no altercation, but they were approached by the accused who identified herself as a member of An Garda Síochána.

A woman had sustained an injury but declined to go to hospital in an ambulance.

Insp Murphy said gardaí directed the accused to leave the area. Subsequently, at 5am the following morning, gardaí again attended the Cluain na Greine estate and they were met by the accused, who said she had called an ambulance for her friend.

"The accused was highly intoxicated and unsteady on her feet," Insp Murphy said.

It was while the injured woman was being helped into the ambulance that Moore also attempted to enter the emergency vehicle.

"She was told to exit the ambulance and that she couldn’t come to hospital because of Covid restrictions," Insp Murphy said, adding the accused "nearly fell out the back of the ambulance".

It was at this point that gardaí arrested Moore, saying she was intoxicated to such an extent as to be a danger to herself and others.

Defence Barrister Donnchadh Morgan told the court that Moore has no previous convictions. "She called to the garda Station to apologise to the investigating member," Mr Morgan said.

He said his client is a serving probationary garda and she has not come to any adverse attention since this incident.

Mr Morgan said his client admits she was intoxicated on the second occasion and exercised "poor judgement". He said Moore regrets she remained at the scene and was intoxicated to the extent she was.

He added that his client is no longer in contact with the friend in whose house the party took place.

"My client made a number of attempts to apologise to the gardaí as soon as the harsh light of day hit her," Mr. Morgan said.

He said Moore has discharged her duties as a probationary garda before and after this incident without difficulty.

Mr Morgan asked the court to look leniently on the case by way of a poor box donation and adjournment for 12 months to let her show "the cut of her money". He pointed out that there will likely be consequences for her professional status.

However, Judge Terence Finn said the accused is a member of An Garda Síochána "and that in itself imbues her and requires her to be compliant with the law".

Judge Finn said while the accused was intoxicated, she was at a house party and was inside, not causing any difficulty.

"It was her emergence into the public arena and her attempt to get into the ambulance that brought about the charge," Judge Finn said.

He said the court has difficulty with the defendant because of her obligation as a member of An Garda Síochána is much more in some respects, than if she were an ordinary member of the public.

Judge Finn indicated that while he was not considering a custodial sentence under the new Covid-19 legislation (Section 31 (A) Act), he added that he would have to reflect on the case and whether the court can go down the road of the poor box option.

"The court is obliged to ensure compliance with the law and she is a member of An Garda Síochána, which raises the bar," Judge Finn said.

Adjourning the case to 2 June, Judge Finn said he needed to reflect on what the court has heard and the court would pronounce penalty on that date.