They have jeeps but 'country on knees': judge

Story by Tom Kelly

Wednesday, 16th December, 2009 5:00pm

"It's time the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) got the finger out on these people. They're driving around in jeeps, and the rest of the country on its knees," said Judge MacBride as he dealt with three members of the McDonagh family in Cavan District Court last Thursday. "I'm going to put a stop to it, in so far as I can make my small contribution in my district," said the judge, who spoke of the family "moving like yo-yos" and going to different employment exchanges.

After some hesitation and confusion, which prompted the judge to warn him to "stop play-acting with the courts", Charles McDonagh, 14 Fairgreen Apartments, Lakeview, Cavan pleaded guilty to stealing two flatscreen TVs worth €910 from Xtravision, Cavan. The court heard that the 18-year-old defendant, whose wife had recently given birth, had 36 previous convictions including theft, assault, handling stolen property, possession of a weapon and public order. "He has no interest in rehabilitating himself. He is a professional criminal and so are his family," said Judge MacBride, whose case list continued with Kathleen and Terence McDonagh. "They would take the eye out of you while smiling at you... They've been reared that way." He added that he wanted them "out... amach" and said he'd "jail every last one of them if they come before me". He sentenced Charles McDonagh to nine months and fixed recognisances.

Kathleen McDonagh pleaded guilty to trespassing on Brady's Public House, Kilcogy on August 6 and to stealing a rug worth €29.99 from Tommy's Wonderland, Cavan on September 17 this year.

When told Ms McDonagh was due to give birth on January 20 and the gardaí had no objections to bail, Judge MacBride noted the second offence was committed while the defendant was on bail from the first.

"I couldn't care less if they have no objections," said the judge, asking Inspector John Dollard if he was "just allowing" them to offend while on bail.

Representing the defendant, Larry Baxter, BL, said his client needed to attend hospital but Judge MacBride said: "I don't trust her or her family - not a single word do I believe that comes out of their mouths."

Remanding her in custody to Cavan District Court this Thursday with consent to bail, Judge MacBride said: "These people are moving like yo-yos. Every time they come to me they have a different address," he added, when informed by Mr. Baxter of an address amendment.

He issued a bench warrant for Terence McDonagh in connection with the Xtravision theft.

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