Portlaoise man refused bail charged with break-ins at parish centre and parish-owned house

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Court - Smashed garda patrol car outside Portlaoise courthouse

20-year-old man was refused bail at Portlaoise District Court

A Portlaoise man charged with a number of burglaries, including stealing tools and equipment from the local parish centre and a parish-owned house, has been refused bail due to concerns that he may commit further crimes if released.

At yesterday's (Thursday, February 21) district court, Keith McDonagh (20), 4 Highfield Meadows, Portlaoise, was charged with three burglaries, trespassing with intent to commit theft, and violent disorder.

There was a State objection to bail.

Detective Garda Michael O’Donovan gave evidence that February 17, there was a break-in at Laois Sawmills, Ballymacken, Portlaoise, in which a workshop was broken into and tools to a value of €4,000 were taken.

On February 16, there was a break-in at the Parish Centre, Stradbally Road, Portlaoise, and a push lawn mower and tools to a value of €400 were taken.

On February 7, at 5 Dublin Road, Portlaoise, at the back of the parish centre, a window in a parish-owned house was broken and power tools to a value of €1,500 were taken.

And on February 5, there was a break-in at Reliable House Furnishers, Station Road, Portlaoise, and five gas cylinders to a total value of €1,000 were taken.

Det O’Donovan said there was CCTV footage acquired from a number of these locations.

Det O’Donovan further gave evidence that on May 28, 2018, there was a violent disorder at  the Mountrath Road, Portlaoise, involving seven people, with shovels, an axe handle and weight bars used. One man had half his ear bitten off and suffered facial injuries.

The detective asked for a four-week adjournment for the preparation of a book of evidence on the violent disorder charge.

Det O’Donovan said he was of the belief that if granted bail, the accused may carry out more crimes.

Defence for the accused, Mr Aonghus McCarthy made a lengthy bail application, during which he asked Det O’Donovan whether a cash sum lodged by the accused would reassure the State.

“Absolutely not,” replied Det O’Donovan.

Mr McCarthy said his client enjoys the presumption of innocence and he is not a flight risk.

However, Judge Catherine Staines said that in her view, she was satisfied that there was a serious risk that further crimes would be committed.

The judge refused bail, with the accused remanded in custody to appear at Cloverhill District Court on March 7 next.