Longford man jailed for three years for burglary crime spree

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford man jailed for three years for burglary crime spree

Longford man jailed for three years for burglary crime spree

A chronic heroin addict described as being "a nuisance and scourge" on society has been sentenced to three years in prison for a string of house burglaries while its occupants were asleep inside.

Robert O'Haire (39), 3 Camlin Mews, Longford was given a five year prison term with the final two years suspended after the father of three pleaded guilty to three burglaries and a theft charge at Cloncoose, Co Longford on April 19, 2020.

The court heard all four incidents occurred at properties which were located next door to each other at around 5:30am.

Among the items taken included tools, painting utensils, cash and other belongings which amounted to over €2,500 between all four properties.

Sgt Jarlath Noheely said the subsequent garda investigation which followed had been aided considerably by the actions of an eagle eyed neighbour who had spotted and photographed the car Mr O'Haire had taken without the consent of his girlfriend to commit the offences.

After a search warrant was obtained, gardai managed to retrieve almost all of the items which had been taken with the exception of €200.

In interviews with gardai, Mr O'Haire told investigating officers when the offences were put to him: "Look, it was me that did them."

In a victim impact statement, Eamon Brennan said the impact of the break-in at his property had left an indelible and lasting mark on him.

"I am constantly checking and re-checking doors," Prosecution Counsel Shane Gerety said, as he read Mr Brennan's victim impact statement into the court record.

"I feel unsafe at night and I'm constantly worried this will happen again."

In his own evidence, Mr O'Haire put the offences down to a habitual heroin addiction he has struggled with for the past 17 years.

"If I wasn't on drugs it (offences) wouldn't have happened," he said.

"When I'm not on drugs I am the nicest person you could meet, it's just the drugs."

Defence counsel Niall Flynn BL said that despite his client's 67 previous convictions, the Longford man was little more than "a nuisance and scourge" on gardai and the public.

He said Mr O'Haire came from a troubled background, having lost his mother at seven years of age and his father at 18.

A subsequent period of time spent homeless had prompted his current addiction problems, he said, but were ailments he was endeavouring to address though counselling and retrospective residential treatment in due course.

Judge Keenan Johnson, in delivering sentence, said the fact Mr O'Haire had carried out the offences just weeks after being granted bail was a "hugely aggravating" factor the court could not overlook.

"A person's home is their castle and is a place they should feel safe in," he said.

"These type of offences represent a serious breach of societal rules which demand a person's home is respected.
"It really is an attack on the very fabric of society."

He consequently sentenced Mr O'Haire to five years in prison on the second burglary charge, suspending the final two years for a period of five years subject to a number of conditions.

They included conditions that Mr O'Haire enter into a €500 bond, to submit himself to probation services for a period of 18 months post release and an order for the accused to remain drug free.

The sentence was backdated to April 19, 2020 when Mr O'Haire first went into custody.