Brother and sister Padraig and Amanda Dunne, from Knockanina, Mountrath were before Judge Catherine Staines charged with theft of €125 worth of home heating oil at last week’s District Court sitting.
Inspector Aidan Farrelly gave evidence that on February 3, at 1,15am, the two were apprehended by Gardaí, leaving the Gascoigne Melotte Ireland factory in Mountrath, carrying five barrels of heating oil, a total of 125 litres, worth €125.
Padraig Dunne had 64 previous offences, most recently on June 6 this year for trespassing a building, and six acts of theft.
He is currently doing 200 hours of community service in lieu of prison.
Defence, Mr Philip Meagher said the sister and brother are living in an old house they cannot afford to heat.
“Both appear to be on social welfare. He appreciates that thousands of people are in the same situation and don’t steal, and he apologises. I haven’t seen any evidence of damage caused to the property, but if there is, he will save up and make good the cost,” said Mr Meagher.
He said Padraig Dunne is “dealing with a long standing drug addiction”, attends the addiction centre on Coote Street, and takes 60mls of methodone daily.
“He appreciates it was a very mean act,” he added.
Inspecter Farrelly told Judge Staines that Dunne had committed asimilar offence in June at Mountrath Golf Club.
Judge Staines then questioned Dunne if he was doing his community service, and on hearing he was, she served a six month sentence suspended for two years.
“If anything like this happens again, it’s prison,” she warned.
“It won’t,” Dunne replied.
Amanda Dunne appeared in court later in the day.
Meagher told Judge Staines she was in court again later in December on another matter, and was due to meet her probation officer. Her case was put off until December 19.