A 71-year-old man has received a suspended sentence for performing a lewd act in front of a teenage boy in the public toilets at Ceannt Station.
Retired farm labourer, Martin Breheny, of Ballinascarrow, Ballymote, Co. Sligo, pleaded guilty before Galway District Court this week to the newly-introduced charge of engaging in masturbation in a public place, at Ceannt Station on May 15 last, contrary to Section 45 (2) of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.
Sergeant Georgina Lohan said a 15-year-old boy was using the public toilets at 4.40pm on the afternoon in question when he observed the accused masturbating.
The young boy left the toilets in a state of shock and disbelief and rang his father to tell him what he had just seen.
He decided to go back into the toilets to check if what he had seen was true and found the accused was still masturbating in public view.
He later told Gardai that the accused pointed towards a cubicle and invited him to join him, saying: “C’mon, just two minutes”.
The boy took three pictures of the accused on his phone before leaving the toilets which he later showed to Gardai.
Judge Mary Fahy agreed with Mr Martin that Breheny’s plea was to be lauded, because it spared the young boy the trauma of having to come into court to give evidence.
The judge said people reacted differently and while some confronted with this situation might have just laughed it off and done nothing, others, like the young boy would have been genuinely shocked and upset at what he saw.
She said the best way to deal with Breheny was to ensure he would not do this again and make him think about his actions.
To read the rest of this court report, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.