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Nothing compares to shoe Sinead O'Connor reveals how being caught shoplifting shoes led to start of singing career

"But the kids in the class, the teenagers, they’d get me to steal the clothes to go to gigs because I would just put them on in the shop and run"

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Sinead O'Connor

Sinead O'Connor

Sinead O'Connor

Sinéad O’Connor has revealed that her shoplifting phase as a teenager sparked the beginning of her career.

The Nothing Compares 2 U singer, whose memoir Rememberings will be released on June 1st, said that the petty thefts led to her being sent to the Catholic reformatory An Grianán.

She was placed in An Grianán for 18 months, which is where her career took flight after a brother of one of the volunteers at the instutition heard her sing.

Speaking to Roisin Ingle on The Irish Times Women’s Podcast, Sinéad admitted that she often got asked to steal things for other people because she was a fast runner.

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Sinéad O'Connor still fascinates

Sinéad O'Connor still fascinates

Sinéad O'Connor still fascinates

“We were broke. The country was broke, that’s why everybody was leaving,” the Dubliner explained.

“But the reason that I was a thief too was that myself and my best mate at the time, a girl called Ciara O’Flanagan - who then became my personal assistant during the glory years, as I call them - we could run 100 metres in 11.3 seconds.

“But the kids in the class, the teenagers, they’d get me to steal the clothes to go to gigs because I would just put them on in the shop and run.

“Nobody had any money to go to gigs or wear something nice or get off with the guy, you know?”

The 54-year-old revealed that she was eventually caught out after shoplifting a pair of shoes for her friend from British Home Stores on O’Connell Street, where the Penneys building stands today.

“What happened was finally, a mate asked me to steal her a pair of gold shoes because we were all going to The Pretenders,” she said.

“I steal the gold shoes out of the British Home Stores... but this time I didn’t run, I got too cocky. I walked away with the shoes.

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“I felt a hand on my shoulder, ‘Excuse me, miss'."

However, Sinéad said that the incident was actually a blessing.

“That hand on my shoulder was the beginning of my career because it sent me to An Grianán!” she laughed.

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