A man with 187 previous convictions has gone to jail for the theft of a bottle of vodka and two packets of sausages.
Tony Coffey, aged 33, of no fixed abode, faced three charges of failing to limit his movements under Covid-19 restrictions as well as three public order offences and a charge of theft.
He pleaded guilty to two public order charges after the State withdrew one of the original charges, and to one of the charges in connection to not restricting his movements, with the other two charges also withdrawn.
Coffey also pleaded guilty to the theft charge.
Judge Colm Roberts was told that on March 29 last, a garda on patrol in Skibbereen was informed that an intoxicated male was heading to Market St in the town. On arrival, they found Coffey, who did not have a phone or any ID, in a highly intoxicated state.
He was arrested and charged, but just days later, on April 1, gardaí received a report from the manager of Spar Drinagh in Skibbereen about an alleged theft.
Gardaí had found Coffey in a similar location on March 29, where he had a bottle of Powers Whiskey, a bottle of Jameson whiskey, a bottle of Smirnoff vodka, and two packets of Clonakilty Sausages. He was highly intoxicated and drinking whiskey from another bottle. Gardai later established Coffey had stolen the sausages and vodka from the store.
Coffey had 187 previous convictions, including 73 for public order offences and 37 for theft. His solicitor, Conrad Murphy, said Coffey had been arrested on April 1 and had been remanded in custody the following day, and had remained in custody since so as to include a period of isolation under Covid-19 rules.
Mr Murphy said Coffey's father had died earlier this year and that his client had a serious problem with alcohol.
Coffey had been living at a hostel in Tralee and then moved to a hostel in Naas operated by the Peter McVerry Trust, but when that became full, he went back to Tralee, only for that hostel to become full as well.
At that point, he moved to Skibbereen, where his sister had recently moved.
Judge Roberts said it was a shame Coffey couldn't have stayed at the Naas hostel as it may have opened a way to addressing his alcohol addiction.
Referring to the three bottles of whiskey and the vodka Coffey was found with in Skibbereen, the judge told him: "You are going to kill yourself."
Judge Roberts sentenced Coffey to four-and-a-half months in prison for the theft, backdated to April 2, and took other public order offences into consideration.
As for the movement around the country which constituted breaches of Covid-19 regulations, he sentenced Coffey to two weeks in prison.
"I hope you that you will use this prison to help your rehab so when you get out you make contact with Peter McVerry [Trust] so you can go directly back to them," the judge said.