'Disguise was of little use to him': 5-year sentence for Dublin man who robbed his local McDonald's

A robber who donned a wig and sunglasses while robbing his local McDonald's has been jailed for five and a half years.
'Disguise was of little use to him': 5-year sentence for Dublin man who robbed his local McDonald's

Additional reporting: Brion Hoban

A robber who donned a wig and sunglasses while robbing his local McDonald's has been jailed for five and a half years.

After his arrest Anthony Sweeney (37) of St Marks Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin told gardaí he was trying to feed his drug habit.

Sweeney pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to robbery of McDonald's, Liffey Valley, Clondalkin on August 5 last (2019). He also admitting robbery at the same restaurant a month later. He has 35 previous convictions, including convictions for robbery and carrying a firearm with criminal intent.

The court heard that Sweeney had been attending school while in custody but the school had been closed due to coronavirus.

Passing sentence today, Judge Melanie Greally said the offences were aggravated by the use of a knife, the fact that during one of the offences the knife was placed to one of the victim's throats and the last offence being committed while Sweeney was on bail.

Judge Greally said she took into consideration his pleas of guilty, his admissions to gardaí, his history of drug addiction, his efforts to address his addiction and the role he has played in caring for his father.

She sentenced Sweeney to seven and a half years imprisonment, but suspended the final two years of the sentence on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for six months prior to his release and 12 months post release.

Detective Garda Kevin O'Connor told Kieran Kelly BL, prosecuting, that Sweeney, wearing a wig and sunglasses, robbed a staff member after approaching the counter at McDonald's, Liffey Valley.

He was chased by gardaí as he cycled away and the wig, glasses and €450 cash were recovered.

Det Gda O'Connor agreed with Sweeney's lawyer that his disguises were of little assistance to him and he was easily identifiable.

The following month Sweeney threatened a staff member at the same branch of McDonald's with an iron bar. The manager attempted to stop Sweeney leaving but Sweeney pushed him out of the way.

He was identified on CCTV and arrested.

Sweeney also pleaded guilty to robbery of a nail salon on Collinstown Road and of a pedestrian on the Liffey Valley footbridge on May 27, 2019. He was armed with a blade when he demanded money from staff in the salon.

Later that day a man crossing the footbridge at Liffey Valley was robbed by a number of persons, one of whom had a knife which was put to the victim's neck.

The prosecuting gardai agreed with Nicola Cox BL, defending, that Sweeney was in the throes of a drug addiction and struggling to feed his habit. They agreed Sweeney was highly intoxicated at the time of the robberies and made admissions after arrest.

Det Gda O'Connor agreed Sweeney was a carer for his father and was under so much strain that he had asked to go into custody. He accepted Sweeney was genuinely remorseful.

Ms Cox said her client had suffered a brain injury. She said she accepted that her client was at a high risk of re-offending and said he needed the tools to assist him to become a productive member of society.

She said her client had been attending school while in custody, but that school had closed as a result of coronavirus. She said he could not elevate his status to become an enhanced prisoner as all prisoners were now in 23-hour lock-up.

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