Ireland's Eye - A round up of top Irish news stories


“The inmates themselves get a lot from the project as they get to give something back to society, which is an important part of their rehabilitation. Then there are the most important beneficiaries -- the families living in the most abject poverty who are gifted the in-calf heifers. This simply changes their world.”

Tipperary Star

Conviction Number 216
A 25-YEAR-old Newbridge woman with 215 previous convictions has been given a suspended sentence for a handbag robbery.

Martina O’Connor pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery at Johnson Court, Dublin 2 on March 6, 2010.

Garda Paul Gray told the prosecutor that a young woman was on her way home after a night socializing and was walking through the Johnson Court area when O’Connor came up behind her and twisted her hair.

O’Connor pulled her by her hair to the ground. A second girl hit the woman in the face, and she handed her handbag to her attackers.

The woman followed the girls and asked for her bag back as her keys were in it, but they laughed and the second girl struck her forcefully into the face again.

Gray said he received a report about the incident and a statement was taken from the injured party. Gardai viewed CCTV of the incident which showed the girls involved.

O’Connor was later arrested and interviewed. The handbag was recovered and given back to the injured party. She suffered a black eye and a clump of hair pulled out of her scalp.

Gray said O’Connor has 215 previous convictions, largely for public order offences, but also for three assaults.  He said she has not come to Garda attention since this offense.

Marie Torrens defending, said her client did not want to engage with the Probation Service because she felt she was making progress on her own.

Judge Patricia Ryan imposed a three-year sentence suspended in full for three years on condition O’Connor stays out of trouble.

Leinster Leader

Garlic Cheat’s Sentence Chopped
THE Court of Criminal Appeal has ruled that businessman Paul Begley, who was jailed for six years for failing to pay import duty on garlic, should have his sentence reduced to two years.

Last month the appeal court set aside the sentence, ruling it excessive. Begley remained in custody pending further submissions last week on an alternative sentence.

In Friday’s ruling, the three-judge appeal court said the offenses were both notable and significant and constituted a significant infringement of criminal law. They were carefully planned and involved premeditated acts of deception.

Therefore, the court ruled, an element or aspect of general deterrence "was appropriate to demonstrate the consequences of this type of behavior."

In order to reflect the gravity of the offenses, while crediting him with due weight for the "very significant mitigating feature,” the appropriate sentence was two years.

Begley has served almost a year of his sentence and with remission could be released in the coming months.

There were emotional scenes in court as Begley's family embraced him after the ruling was delivered. He has now returned to prison.

RTE News