Six months jail for man who stole to feed addiction

A 33-year-old Newcastle man who hot-wired a car and was stealing to feed his addiction to alcohol has been jailed for six months.

Paul McDonagh, with an address given at 60 Inishannagh Park, Newcastle, and formerly of 19 St Finbarr’s Terrace, Bohermore, appeared in at Galway District Court on Monday charged with stealing a jacket worth €39 from Penney’s, Eyre Square Shopping Centre, on September 15, 2011, stealing a bottle of Nordoff vodka, valued at 14.73, on October 2, 2011, and stealing a bottle of Hunter’s Peak white wine, valued at €6.49, on November 19, 2011 from Nestors Supervalu, Fr Griffin Road, being intoxicated in a public place and with attempting to interfere with a vehicle at Lios An Uisce, Merlin Park, on December 12, 2011, as well as with two counts of failing to appear in court.

The court heard how on December 12 the defendant had been observed damaging a vehicle which belonged to a student. Inspector Mick Coppinger said that housemate of the owner had spotted the defendant “hot-wiring” the car. He added that McDonagh has 31 previous convictions including a number of theft matters, public order, and a jail term for robbery.

“He has a pretty serious background,” noted Judge Mary Fahy to which defence solicitor Sarah O’Dowd replied that her client has battled with a very serious addiction to alcohol, that following marital problems had slept rough for a time, and had been “stealing to feed his addiction”.

Judge Fahy pointed out that the car had belonged to a student who had probably not been of great means and did not need that type of damage to be done.

After consideration Judge Fahy convicted McDonagh and imposed a total of six months in jail, backdated to December 13, 2011.

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