An alcoholic who committed four break-ins in an eight-day period in Castlebar earlier this month has been given a year-long jail sentence.
Martin Conroy (44), of no fixed abode but formerly of 16 Gort na Gloch, New Street, Ballinrobe, twice broke into the same hair salon in Castlebar in a single 24-hour period.
He also broke into the Social Services Centre in Castle Street Car Park in the town, as well as The Olive Tree Restaurant. He stole cash and goods worth approximately €1,000.
Garda John Melia told the court that the first offence was committed at The Olive Tree, where Sweeney broke in by smashing a rear window. He stole tips of between €50 and €80 together with a money bag.
Shortly after being spoken to about this offence, Conroy was evicted from his house in Ballinrobe and was subsequently living in various houses in Castlebar and Ballinrobe.
Garda Melia said he got a call at 6.30am on Friday, November 10, from the Social Services Centre in Castlebar. A rear window had been smashed, and a HP tablet worth €298, a bottle of whiskey and €200 in change had been taken.
At 9.20am on the same day, gardaí received a report of a break in to Vogue Hair Salon on Tucker Street, Castlebar. Entry had been gained by smashing the rear door. A CCTV camera worth €100 and two champagne glasses in a gift set worth €60 were stolen.
The next morning, at 9am, gardaí again received a call from Vogue Hair Salon about a second burglary. This time, a rear window had been smashed to gain entry, and a bottle of whiskey was stolen.
After being arrested, Conroy confessed.
Many previous convictions
The court heard Conroy has 48 previous convictions. He is married with one child. Defending solicitor Cathy McDarby described him as ‘an out-and-out alcoholic’ and ‘a pitiful sight in court today’. She said that two thefts in the hair salon in 24 hours ‘must have been soul-destroying’ for the salon owners. She also said that the theft of the CCTV camera, which would be ‘of no use’ to him, showed just how drunk he was.
She added the champagne glasses ‘would have been broken within ten minutes’, as Mr Conroy is very unsteady on his feet when he is drunk. She added that Mr Conroy is ‘very pleasant’ when he is not drinking, but that it is a different story when he has drink on board.
Judge Mary Devins told Mr Conroy that he would be going to prison. Addressing the court, Martin Conroy said ‘I’ve never had proper help, I need help’ before adding: “Don’t take this the wrong way judge, but I’m getting fed up of looking at you.”
He was sentenced to three months for each of the four offences, to run consecutive to each other.