Man stole cans because he was 'bored and wanted a drink', Longford judge hears

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A High Court action brought by a senior Cork GAA official against the sporting organisation over a decision to terminate his employment has been settled

A Dublin man fined for stealing 24 cans of Budweiser from a supermarket giant said he stole the alcohol because he was “bored and wanted to have a drink”.

Keith Noonan (33), Abbeycourt Hotel, Bachelors Walk, Dublin 1 had initially indicated he intended pleading not guilty to an incident at Tesco Ashe Road, Mullingar, Westmeath on April 14 2019.

Garda Mark Butler from Mullingar Garda Station gave evidence of having arrested and charged Mr Noonan earlier that morning, saying the accused made no reply when cautioned.

When asked by Judge Hughes why he had initially looked for the matter to be adjourned to a later sitting of Mullingar District Court, Mr Noonan simply replied: “No reason”.

As he outlined the charge to the court, which also included the theft of a plastic bucket and spade set, valued at €27.75, Judge Hughes said it wasn’t the first time he had encountered the accused.

“I know this gentleman very well,” he said.

“He has come on the scene recently.”

Defence solicitor Fiona Baxter said Mr Noonan did make certain admissions when gardaí questioned him over the incident.

Mr Noonan, who confessed to being homeless and staying in temporary accommodation in Dublin, was also asked by Judge Hughes why he was in Mullingar on the date the incident took place.

“I have friends in Mullingar,” he said.

“I’ve been through the homeless system in Mullingar but they had no place for me.”

Judge Hughes asked Mr Noonan if he was taking medication prescribed to him and whether he was intent on drinking the cans of Budweiser himself.

“Not straight away,” came the reply from the defendant, revealing there was no specific reason for his decision to shoplift.

“I was bored and wanted to have a drink.”

In granting legal aid to Mr Noonan, Judge Hughes issued a stern warning to the 33-year-old about what will inevitably happen should he come to garda attention again.

“If you commit any more thefts in this region I will be sending you to prison,” he told him.

“You have been there before and you know what it’s like.”

Judge Hughes also noted Mr Noonan’s somewhat improved physical and mental state, adding: “You are in fine fettle today compared to other days.”

He handed Mr Noonan a €250 fine for the theft charge, affording him three months to pay despite admitting to being unconvinced about its relevance.

“It could be a wasted exercise but it was important I brought the prosecution,” he said, not before reiterating to Mr Noonan to steer clear of trouble.

“It won’t be a homeless hostel you are looking for the next time I meet you,” he said.