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three years Burglar who has spent 'majority of life' in prison jailed after three robberies in three days

Colm Donnelly (46) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the burglaries in the south inner city on dates between March 13 and 15, 2020

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A burglar who has spent the “vast majority of his life” in prison has been jailed for three years after stealing from three premises in three days.

Colm Donnelly (46), of Pearse House, Dublin 2, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the burglaries in the south inner city on dates between March 13 and 15, 2020.

The court heard the first burglary occurred at City Quay, Dublin 2, where access was gained through the rear of a site under renovation and valuable tools were taken, but later discarded and recovered.

The following day, March 14, 2020, €50 was taken from the till at The Workshop, Georges Quay, in the early hours of the morning. A staff member heard glass being broken and was fearful, but there was no encounter with Donnelly.

The final burglary occurred on March 15, 2020, at Keoghs Coffee Shop on Trinity Street, Dublin 2, where Donnelly succeeded in stealing €2,500 while armed with a crow bar which he held up and used in a threatening way towards a customer in the shop.

Donnelly has 164 previous convictions for offences including aggravated burglary, as well as dishonesty and theft related offences

Judge Melanie Greally noted Donnelly's life had been blighted by drug addiction and homelessness. She said the motivation for his offending appears to be to obtain money to fund his drug addiction.

Judge Greally said since going into custody he has stabilised and reduced his methadone intake to quite a low level. She noted a favourable prison governor's report outlining he has readjusted well to the prison regime. He is attending educational courses and is a model prisoner.

She said his personal circumstances were set out in a psychologists report before the court. She noted his education was limited and he had never been in employment. She said he had suffered a number of bereavements in recent times which had a significant impact on him.

The judge noted he was at very high risk of reoffending and if he was to remain at liberty for any length of time he would have to engage with a drug rehabilitation regime.

She gave Donnelly credit for his guilty pleas and admissions. She took into account that he has made efforts to engage with rehabilitation and is stable on a low level of methadone.

Judge Greally imposed a three years and nine months sentence with the final nine months suspended on conditions including that he engage in pre-release planning and undertake offence and victim focused work. She ordered 12 months post release supervision by The Probation Service.

Defence counsel, Eoin Hardiman BL, said Donnelly had spent the “vast majority of his life” in prison and his challenge in life was what to do when he's released. He said he had difficulties each time he was released and had suffered the loss of his mother and partner in recent years.

He said he gets on well in prison as it is the only home he has ever known and if he is released without a plan in place he was much more likely to reoffend.

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