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Brothers stole €8k while working as charity barmen at Dublin music festival

Brothers stole €8k while working as charity barmen at Dublin music festival

A London financier and his university student brother stole over €8000 in cash while working as charity barmen at a music festival in Marlay Park last year, a Dublin court has heard.

John McGinley (25) stole €5,275 in cash, while his younger brother, Conal McGinley (22) stole €3,370 while they were working behind the bar for Workers Beer Company, a charity organisation that raises funds at music festivals.

Wads of cash were found in their pockets, shoes and their car after they were observed by gardaí to be pocketing money while working behind the bar instead of putting it in the charity bucket, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today.

Both brothers, with an address at Naughan, Belturbet, Co Cavan, pleaded guilty to one count of theft at Marlay Park on July 8, 2016. They will be sentenced on June 14.

The court heard John McGinley, who held a good job at a financial firm in London, fell into the hands of loan sharks while gambling in the UK.

As a result, the brothers undertook the “clumsy, naïve and desperate” attempt of taking the cash to try and raise some of the money owed, which amounted to £8000, defence counsel said.

Garda Ciaran McCoyne told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that the men were observed pocketing the cash on the first day of the three-day music festival. When arrested that evening, John McGinley had €4,145 on his person and another €1,130 in his car. Conal McGinley had €1,860 in cash on his person and €1,500 in his car.

Both men made immediate admission when interviewed by gardaí. They have no previous convictions.

Mark Lynam BL, defending John McGinley, said his client had had to give up his position with the London firm, which he worked hard at third level to achieve. He had since moved back to Ireland and was working again, “but not in his chosen field”.

Mr Lynam said John McGinley was extremely remorseful for his behaviour. “He acknowledges he has a flaw in his character which caused him to behave recklessly,” he said. “It was a clumsy, naïve and desperate attempt to get the money which was destined to fail.”

John McGinley, who also works as a defence force volunteer, has since attended Gambling Anonymous and paid back his debts legitimately with the help of his family.

Keith Spencer BL, defending Conal McGinley, submitted the younger man took the cash with the sole aim of helping his older brother. 

He said the man, who is in his final year of a business degree, had suffered within his community for what he has done. His future career was also in jeopardy, he added.

“This will essentially set his degree and education at naught,” he said. “The fall-out from this will be untold.”

A letter from the men's father was handed up to court in which he said he believed he had raised honest children. He was “flabbergasted” at his sons' actions, the court heard.

Judge Cormac Quinn remanded the pair on bail for sentencing in June.