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Man sentenced to climb Croagh Patrick raises £2.5k

Many pilgrims choose to climb Croagh Patrick
Image caption Thousands of pilgrims visit Croagh Patrick every year

A man who was ordered to climb up Ireland's holiest mountain after he swore at police was praised for raising 2,900 euros (£2,495).

Joseph McElwee, 33, of Aughavennan, Rathmullan swore at a police officer and told him to go back to Mayo.

Judge Seamus Hughes ordered him to climb Croagh Patrick in the officer's native County Mayo.

McElwee appeared before the judge on Monday with a photograph at the summit and a cheque for charity.

McElwee's solicitor gave the judge pictures showing McElwee, his wife and 12 friends on top of the famed mountain with the gable of the church in the background.

The money was raised from sponsorship of his climb which is to be divided between hospitals in counties Donegal and Mayo.

Recognition

The judge was also assured that McElwee had enjoyed the experience and had raised 2,900 eurosfor charity in the process.

The money is to be equally divided between the Donegal Hospice and the Adult Mental Health Services at Mayo General Hospital on the judge's recommendation.

"I commend you for the way you have turned it around and taken the opportunity to raise money.

"Quite clearly there is a therapeutic exercise in climbing the reek (mountain) and the time spent up there to think.

"You deserved every commendation," he said.

McElwee plead guilty to a number of public order offences in September which occurred outside a pub in his village in County Donegal. They included failure to comply with the direction of a garda.

Mayo-born judge Mr Hughes, directed McElwee to undertake to climb the holy mountain and to do the four stations of Croagh Patrick at its summit, as a mark of respect for his fellow Irish people, especially those in the line of duty.

"You then might have a different impression of County Mayo and its people, and it will be in recognition to your fellow Irish people especially those in the line of duty."

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