By Conor Kane
Prison terms ranging from five years to 16 years have been imposed on the seven men who admitted carrying out an aggravated burglary on the home of a young family two years ago.
Sentences were handed down shortly before 12 noon at Clonmel Circuit Court by Judge Thomas Teehan who described the effects of the burglary on the Corcoran family from Co Tipperary as “catastrophic”, and said the crime imposed by the gang of seven was near the top end of the highest level of seriousness for this type of crime.
Mark and Emma Corcoran were in court as the men, all in their 20s and from Dublin, were sentenced to prison terms having pleaded guilty on earlier dates to a single count of aggravated burglary each.
The court heard earlier in the week that the “terrified screams” of the Corcorans’ three young daughters, aged eight, six and two at the time of the burglary, could be heard by gardaí through a 999 call made by Emma Corcoran as the incident was taking place in the early hours of November 21, 2013.
Shortly before the seven gang members were led away from the courtroom, some of them shouting as they left, Judge Teehan offered his best wishes to the Corcorans, who live in the townland of Burnchurch outside Killenaule in Co Tipperary.
“I’m quite certain everyone in court has enormous sympathy for what you have endured,” he told the emotional couple after he issued the prison terms.
“I’d like to wish you every possible success and for your children in your efforts to recover from this. No doubt your own determination will be very important in that regard. Nobody could possibly ever forget what you have gone through.”
The judge added that, over the years, he found that the victims of crime “who recover best” from the effects of those crimes are those who find some measure of forgiveness for the perpetrators. “You may find that impossible or at least very difficult,” the judge said.
Emma Corcoran said “thank you, your honour,” in response.
Dean Byrne, 22, of Cabra Park, Dublin 17, was given a sentence of 20 years, with four suspended, backdated from November 21 of 2013. Patrick Gately aged (28) of Primrose Grove, Darndale, Dublin 17, was also sentenced to 20 years, with four suspended for 10 years.
21-year-old John Joyce of Lentisk Lawn, Donaghmede, Dublin, was sentenced to 15 years, with four of those suspended. Patrick Joyce, 23, of Beaumont Hall, Beaumont Woods, Dublin 9, was given a sentence of 14 years, with four suspended. Thomas Flynn aged (21) of Moatview Avenue, Coolock, Dublin 17, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, with three of those suspended.
Donal O’Hara, who is 22, of Glin Park, Coolock, Dublin 17, was sentenced to 12 years, with seven suspended and 23-year-old Michael McDonagh of Tara Lawns, Belcamp Lane, Coolock, Dublin 17, who was the only defendant with no previous convictions, was sentenced to 12 years, with seven of those years suspended.
All of the suspensions were for ten years and into come into effect upon them leaving prison, under conditions including keeping the peace, staying free of alcohol and drugs and engaging with the Probation and Welfare Service.
The only time any of the defendants spoke in court was to acknowledge the terms of their suspension bonds.