A burglar, who hopes to get drug counseling in prison, has broken into one of the few drug treatment centers available in Galway – where he forced his way into a room containing a safe -box and stole €2,412.
Frank Barrett, of 237 Castlepark, Ballybane, entered Cuan Mhuire in Coolarne in the early hours of March 20, 2020, through a small canteen window.
From there, he made his way through a locked door into a room that contained a safe and stole the money.
The 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 in Quinn Terrace, Mervue, later told Gardai he had never been to Cuan Mhuire and made no comment when told of the DNA match.
He appeared in police custody at 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.
Sergeant Cathal Rodgers, prosecuting, said Gardai responded to a call from an intruder at the 56 Central restaurant on Shop Street and found Barrett at the rear of the premises.
He said Barrett was out on bail in connection with the burglary at Cuan Mhuire when he was arrested inside the restaurant last January.
He confirmed that Barrett had 132 previous convictions, including several for other burglaries, drug dealing and the rest for mostly traffic violations.
Defense attorney Valerie Corcoran said Barrett had developed an addiction to alcohol and drugs and was under the influence of both when he committed the offences.
She said he went into the restaurant to sleep at night after finding the door open.
Ms Corcoran said Barrett wanted to plead guilty even though he did not recall breaking into Cuan Mhuire. She said he was “horrified” and accepted the DNA found there was his.
“He hopes that while in custody he will receive treatment and he has a letter of apology for you, Judge,” Ms Corcoran told Judge Mary Fahy.
She said Barrett’s addiction struggles contributed to the breakdown of her marriage.
“He now wants to get treatment and become a better person,” added the lawyer.
Judge Mary Fahy replied: “He has 132 prior convictions. He may be “horrified,” but the court is absolutely horrified; to think that someone would take this huge sum of money from a treatment center.
“People are crying out for treatment centers in the west of Ireland. We have very few centers here in the West.
“This treatment center is there for vulnerable people and such centers are rare. What he did was totally inexcusable,” the judge said before sentencing Barrett to eleven months in prison for the burglary.
She noted that he committed the other burglary at the downtown restaurant while out on bail for the Cuan Mhuire offense and for this reason she imposed a consecutive six-month prison sentence. .
The judge backdated the combined sentence by 17 months to February 14 when Barrett was first taken into custody.