Jail for Portlaoise man who finds horses ‘irresistible’

Before the recent circuit court in Portlaoise was Darren McInerney, who was appealing two convictions for offences committed in 2010.

Before the recent circuit court in Portlaoise was Darren McInerney, who was appealing two convictions for offences committed in 2010.

Garda Tara Reddin gave evidence that a generator was stolen from a camper van at New Road, Portlaoise, on March 14, 2010. The owner of the van was present at the time and became aware of the theft when the electricity went off in the vehicle. Fingerprints taken from the plug connecting the generator identified McInerney. He was arrested, but did not admit to the crime during interview. The generator, valued at €1,000, was not recovered.

McInerney received a four-month sentence in the district court.

Garda Reddin also gave evidence that McInerney removed the security tag from a pair of sunglasses in TK Maxx, Kyle Shopping Centre, Portlaoise, in 2010, breaking the glasses as he did so.

He received a three-month sentence, concurrent to the four-month sentence for the theft of the generator.

When McInerney appeared before the recent circuit court to appeal the sentences, Garda Sgt Justine Reilly gave evidence of numerous offences he had committed in the intervening time, all in breach of a court order prohibiting him from keeping horses.

Sgt Reilly said that McInerney was given a five-month suspended sentence in October, 2010, for the ill treatment of animals. He was also ordered to have no ownership of animals. Since then, Sgt Reilly said he had been detected with horses on numerous occasions:

On March 13 this year, McInerney was observed riding on a horse-drawn sulky with two children, on the Timahoe Road in Portlaoise.

On March 23, he rode a sulky along the Dublin Road, Portlaoise.

On April 16, he was observed grooming horses.

On April 23 he was involved in a sulky race on the Ballyfin Road, Portlaoise. On this occasion, he had a child in his lap.

On May 8, he was again detected on a horse-drawn sulky on the Dublin Road.

Sgt Reilly also told the court that McInerney is currently being investigated by the Criminal Assets Bureau and his assets have been frozen.

Defence barrister said that McInerney was looking for one last chance to get his life in order and it was time for him to “man up”.

“He already had a chance, it makes a cod of it all going back looking for more,” said Judge Hunt.

Defence said that McInerney had €200 compensation in court, but Judge Hunt remarked that this was only one-fifth of the value of the generator.

“He got chances and breached (the court order) on numerous occasions... he clearly finds horses and sulkies irresistible. He hasn’t come up to the mark,” said the judge.

Judge Hunt refused McInerney’s appeal and activated the prison sentences. He also said there were no grounds for shortening the jail time.