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Man Receives Jail Sentence Following Firearm Burglary Near Thurles.

A man who was caught attempting to bring a stolen shotgun into a Tipperary Rehabilitation Centre has been jailed for three years for robbery.

Mr Darren McDonnell, aged 38 years, had for 2 days been resident at the Rehabilitation Centre when he was discovered missing from the grounds. On his return an employee noticed that he had a shotgun concealed inside his trousers. When confronted, Mr McDonnell admitted he had been involved in a burglary nearby and handed over the shotgun, together with ammunition and a tablet he had stolen during his crime spree.

The pastor at the Rehab Centre later drove Mr McDonnell to a local train station and then contacted Gardaí, after the accused had taken himself off.

Mr McDonnell was later arrested a few days later in Co. Dublin, having carried out a robbery at knife-point; stealing some €280 from a Spar Shop in Coolock, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was informed.

Mr McDonnell, with an address at Macroom Avenue, Coolock, Co. Dublin, pleaded guilty to burglary of a residence in Curraheenduff, Coalbrook, Thurles, Co Tipperary, on November 4th, 2020, and to robbery and possession of a knife at a Spar shop, in Tonlegee Road, Coolock, Dublin, some 5 days later. Gardaí confirmed that the defender was declared unfit for interview, following his arrest due to the amount of drugs in his system.

The court heard that Mr McDonnell had over 40 previous convictions for robbery and the unauthorised taking of a vehicle.

Judge Ms Elma Sheahan stated that the victims of the burglary in Tipperary were an older couple who previously had been nervous having the Rehab Centre close to their home. Indeed numerous residents living in the area had complained about the presence of the centre which was being partially funded by a second hand furniture store in Thurles. The Court heard that the victims of the burglary were since afraid of returning home for fear they could encounter further intruders.

Judge Sheahan sentenced Mr McDonnell to five years in prison but suspended the final two years on strict conditions, that Mr McDonnell remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for three years.

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