Addict gets 10 years for burglary, robberies and drugs offence

A drug addict who burgled 11 neighbouring Portmarnock apartments over three days has been given a 10-year sentence for these and other offences.

A drug addict who burgled 11 neighbouring Portmarnock apartments over three days has been given a 10-year sentence for these and other offences.

Thomas Barry (aged 34) was also sentenced for possession of €34,000 worth of cocaine, stealing €14,000 from a shop manager and robbing a Centra. He committed the majority of the offences while on bail for the drugs charge.

Barry of Buttercup Park, Darndale pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine for sale or supply at Killester Avenue, Killester on February 14, theft in Coolock Village Centre on March 9, 22 counts of theft and criminal damage on Station Road, Portmarnock between July 7 and 9 and robbery at Centra on the Malahide Road on October 16, all in 2009.

He has 58 previous convictions including burglary, theft, handling stolen property and drugs charges.

Judge Katherine Delahunt at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court noted that he has been in custody for over a year since his arrest but has been using his time wisely and has made contact with various agencies regarding his continuing rehabilitation

She imposed consecutive sentences totalling 10 years and suspended the final three years on strict conditions.

Garda Margaret Kelly told prosecuting counsel, Mr Damien Colgan BL, that Barry and another man went around three apartment complexes in Portmarnock, kicking in the doors and stealing whatever valuables they found inside.

The stolen items mainly consisted of watches, MP3 players and phones. However one man reported having over €13,000 worth of jewellery taken.

The apartment doors had been broken off the frames and each cost around €1,000 to repair. Barry was caught when he and his accomplice were spotted in one of the buildings on the third day of burglaries.

Gardaí arrived quickly on the scene and he was chased down and arrested. He made full admissions and explained that he and the other man knocked on the apartment doors and if there was no reply, they would break in.

The court heard that the previous February, a garda on patrol had spotted Barry taking a package from another man. Barry was searched and around 400g of cocaine in two packages were found in his pockets.

He admitted possession of the drugs but said he was too scared to say where he had got them. He was then charged and released on bail.

The next month the manager of a Mace shop was delivering €14,000 in cash from one branch to another. As he was about to go into the shop in Coolock Village Centre, Barry ran past and grabbed the bag of cash from his hand.

Barry and an accomplice were then seen getting into a Fiat Punto and escaping. Barry was later identified on CCTV and arrested that same day. He said the theft was not planned and he needed the money to pay off a drug debt.

The final offence occurred in October 2009 when Barry got a lift to a Centra shop to buy cigarettes.

Unknown to the car’s driver, Barry took out a knife in the shop and demanded money from the till.

He grabbed around €200 from the till and went back to the car. He was arrested several days later and again claimed it was a spontaneous idea and that he needed the money for drugs.

Defence counsel, Mr Paul Greene SC, said his client was a chronic drug addict who was hooked on various substances. He said he had a partner and two children and had tried and failed to address his addictions in the past.

He said he had been viciously assaulted several years ago and had to get 100 stitches which led to his relapse into drugs.

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