Longford District Court: Longford pair fined for shoplifting

Judge hints at taking harder line on theft-related charges

Longford Leader

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Two Longford women who stole over €100 worth of cosmetics from a pharmacy in Westmeath earlier this year have each been fined over the incident.

Margaret McDonagh, 1 O’Connor Park, Longford and Mary Nevin, 64 Grian Ard, Ardnacassa Avenue were both charged with stealing the items from Cunningham’s Pharmacy, Dublin Road, Athlone, Westmeath on May 30 2017.

The pair were both charged shortly before last week’s District Court sitting with neither of them proferring a reply under caution.

Taking note of the time of the incident, Judge Seamus Hughes asked why it had taken so long to bring the matter before the court.

The investigating garda said he only received the case file “two or three days” before last Tuesday’s court sitting.

Ms McDonagh, who has 19 previous convictions, seven for theft, was asked about her latest court appearance after committing a similar offence earlier this year.

She told Judge Hughes that after being sentenced to five months in prison, she successfully appealed it which drew a terse reaction from Judge Hughes.

“The Judge in Roscommon was fed up with you and gave you five months in prison,” he said.

“That should have brought the message home, but like two swishes of a lamb’s tail you appealed it.”

The judge said while he respected the decision of the Circuit Court, he noted that Ms McDonagh’s appeal had proceeded under the State’s legal aid scheme.

Ms Nevin, it was revealed, had four previous convictions, all of which were for theft-related offences.

The court was told that although the cosmetics taken from the store were not recovered, money matching the stolen goods’ monetary value was handed in to the court.

In his summation, Judge Hughes hinted at taking a tougher line in the future with those who appear before him for theft.

“Maybe I should start adopting Judge (James) Faughan’s sentencing as it’s the only way of stopping shoplifting in this area,” he said.

He signed off on matters by fining Ms McDonagh €200 and issuing a three month prison sentence in the process.

The term of that sentence was suspended for a period of three years.

Ms Nevin, meanwhile, was also handed down a €200 fine.