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District Court Judge Criticized For “Unhelpful” Remarks

A District Court judge has faced strong criticism for remarks she made about foreign nationals who live in Ireland seeking the assistance of courtroom interpreters.  

The remarks made by Judge Miriam Walsh were described as “reckless and and unhelpful” by the Irish Network against Racism (INRA) after Walsh said she was “sick to the teeth ” of foreign residents claiming they needed interpretive services in court cases. 

These remarks were made when the case of a foreign national who has been living in Ireland for  5 years came before the judge at Portlaoise District Court. 

The assault took place around 9:30pm in the evening on the 12th of February last, when the accused, Aleksandrs Fadejevs,  is reported to have become agitated and lashed out at a man behind a takeaway counter. After initially attempting to strike the man over the counter,  Fadejevs went behind it and punched him in the head several times. He also punched another man who attempted to intervene. 

On the 18th of May Laois Live reported that: Fadejevs, 24, of 133 The Hermitage, Portlaoise was charged with assault of two people at Maliks Takeaway, Portlaoise on February 12 this year and intoxication and engaging in threatening and abusive words or behavior, he has pleaded guilty to the charges. 

Judge Walsh commented that interpreter services are funded by taxpayers money, and continued by saying: 

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.”

 

She continued by adding: 

“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.”

 

In 2018 the Independent published an article on the coast of courtroom interpreter services in Ireland. The article detailed how “Yoruba, Lingala, Tagalog, and Bengali are among the exotic languages which have pushed the cost of interpreters in the Irish courts to more than €20,000 a week.”

The article includes figures obtained by the Sunday Independent reporting that in 2016 €1,048,328 was spent on such services. 

Among other languages interpreted in Irish courts are Zulu, Yue Chinese, Vietnamese, Uzbek, Urdu, Thai, Tamil, Somali, Pashto, Punjabi, Nyanja and Moroccan Arabic.

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