A young mother of two from Moate who previously promised she would never rob again has been jailed for six months for shoplifting.
Judge Hughes reminded her that she had made the same promise the last time she was before him, when he gave her a suspended sentence for the same offences.
Geraldine Joyce (22 ), who is now living at Riverpark, Edgeworthstown in Longford pleaded guilty to four counts of shoplifting from Mullingar stores.
Twenty-one of her 22 previous convictions are for theft, Inspector Jarlath Folan told a recent sitting of Mullingar District Court, and she spent seven days on remand in custody.
Joyce admitted stealing 10 gallons of kerosene from Buckleys in Mullingar, €20 clothes from Penneys, €11.92 burgers from Dealz, and she left without paying for a €25 beauty treatment in a Mullingar salon, all between August and December last year.
Judge Hughes said those were simply the offences she had been caught for.
The judge, who listened to Mullingar Chamber President Pat Whelan outline the effects of shoplifting on local retailers, said main streets are at a critical stage of survival as they face competition from out of town retail centres and from shoplifters.
Joyce begged not to go to prison, saying that her small baby needs medical attention in Crumlin this week after receiving serious burns over Christmas.
Judge Hughes said the child’s father can do the hospital run, and said that his previous warnings to Joyce had rung hollow with her.
“I must do my job,” he said, adding that Joyce is responsible for her behaviour, that she pays for nothing and yet gets the same social welfare as everyone else.
She admitted she promised never to rob again, and the judge said she had very likely laughed when he imposed the suspended sentence.
He refused to give Joyce a chance to do community service and revoked a previous four month suspended sentence.
To that he added a two month consecutive sentence for one of the new offences and three concurrent two month sentences for the other thefts.
Clearly frustrated, Judge Hughes said he expected that his order will be grossly interfered with by the Prison Service and that she will be lucky to serve 1 or 2 per cent of her time.
She decided not to appeal the sentence.
Her solicitor Mark Cooney said she has another court appearance in Athlone on Wednesday for a similar, new offence but agreed with the judge that she might be out of prison in time to attend that hearing.
The judge concluded that he didn’t like to have to sentence the mother of young children to six months, but said someone else without the standing of the court will revisit her case and she will be out within days.