The family of a man who died of a heart attack, after disturbing a gang ransacking his isolated rural home, have hit out at the sentences imposed today on two members of the gang, writes David Raleigh.
Cousins David and Michael Casey - jailed for three and a half years for burglary - will likely serve only 16 months in prison.
Limerick bachelor John O'Donoghue, (62), collapsed and died from a heart attack as he prepared to confront the two men, at his home in Toomaline, Doon, Co Limerick, on August 27, last year.
The criminal cousins - who had 60 previous convictions between them - ran from Mr O'Donoghue's home, leaving him collapsed on the ground, despite calls from his sister Christina for help, Limerick Circuit Court heard.
Reacting to the sentences, a spokesperson for the O'Donoghue family said they hoped the State would appeal the men's jail terms on leniency grounds.
"The sentence was lenient given the circumstances, and I'm disappointed that the sentences were concurrent rather than consecutive, given the premeditation," said a family spokesperson.
They added: "It's a matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions. I would hope she would consider (an appeal)."
The nature of John O'Donoghue's death caused national outrage.
Michael Casey (33), from Bay 9, Clonlong, Southill, Limerick, and David Casey (21), with an address at Carragh Park, Coolock, Dublin 17, both pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary and one count of criminal damage. All four offences happened in the Doon/Cappamore area on the same afternoon.
Imposing terms on each defendant of four years and six months with the final 12 months suspended, judge Tom O'Donnell said: "The court is deeply conscious of the loss suffered by John O'Donoghue's family. (The sentence) will not change the fact Mr O'Donoghue is no longer with us and it will not alleviate his families pain. The court must deal with the burglary charges, and those alone."