Athlone is a small enough town, small enough that the owner of the local Supermacs might have known all about the sixteen-year-old girl who was allowed to work more than four hours per day, and after ten o'clock at night.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment is based in Dublin, and would have had no idea that the young lady was supporting her family. Being in Dublin, they might not have much cared. The law's the law. Sixteen-year-olds can't work long hours and that's all there is to it. If her family can't pay their light or heat bills, well, the law's the law.
Judge John Neilan heard the case that was brought against the Supermacs. He determined that the bureaucrats were a bunch of feckin' eejits and the Supermacs was doing a good deed.
Times are getting harder in Ireland, and things are only going to get worse. Judge Neilan is aware that emigration is expected to climb, as people go abroad in search of work, and as far as he's concerned, trying to stick to the letter of the employment law was another way of telling Ireland's young people to pack their bags.