A burglar who hopes to avail of addiction counseling while in prison, broke into one of the few addiction treatment centers available in Galway – where he smashed his way into a room containing a safe and stole €2,412.
Frank Barrett, from 237 Castlepark, Ballybane, entered Cuan Mhuire in Coolarne in the early hours of March 20, 2020, through a small window in the canteen.
From there he smashed his way through a locked door into a room which contained a safe and stole the cash.
DNA, taken from a small amount of blood found at the entrance to the room, matched that of the accused.
Barrett, who also has an address at Quinn Terrace, Mervue, later told Gardai he was never in Cuan Mhuire and made no comment when told about the DNA match.
He appeared in custody before Galway District Court, where he pleaded guilty to burglary at the treatment center and to committing a second burglary at a restaurant on January 13 last.
Sergeant Cathal Rodgers, prosecuting, said Gardai responded to a call of an intruder at 56 Central restaurant on Shop Street, and found Barrett in the back of the premises.
He said Barrett was on bail in relation to the burglary at Cuan Mhuire when he was arrested inside the restaurant last January.
He confirmed Barrett had 132 previous convictions, including several for other burglaries, drug dealing and the remainder for mostly road traffic offences.
Defense solicitor, Valerie Corcoran, said Barrett had developed addictions to alcohol and drugs and was under the influence of both when he committed these offences.
She said he went into the restaurant to sleep for the night after finding the door open.
Ms Corcoran said Barrett wanted to plead guilty even though he had no recollection of breaking into Cuan Mhuire. She said he was “horrified” and accepted the DNA found there was his.
“He hopes while he is in custody he will get treatment and he has a letter of apology for you judge,” Ms Corcoran told Judge Mary Fahy.
She said Barrett’s addiction difficulties contributed to the breakdown of his marriage.
“He now wants to get treatment and come out and be a better person,” the solicitor added.
Judge Mary Fahy replied: “He has 132 previous convictions. He might be ‘horrified’ but the court is absolutely horrified; to think someone would take that huge amount of cash from a treatment centre.
“People are crying out in the West of Ireland for treatment centres. We have very few centers here in the West.
“That treatment center is there for vulnerable people and such centers are few and far between. What he did was totally inexcusable,” the judge said before sentencing Barrett to eleven months in prison for that burglary.
She noted he had committed the other burglary at the city center restaurant while out on bail for the Cuan Mhuire offence and for that reason she imposed a consecutive six-month prison term.
The judge backdated the combined 17-month sentence to February 14 when Barrett first went into custody on the charges.