Penitent County Limerick woman stole chalice and holy items 


A BRUFF woman who stole a bag containing holy books, garments and a church chalice was penitent enough to admit to the theft when confronted by Gardai, a judge was told.

Paula Maher (37) of 11 Sycamore Drive in Bruff admitted stealing a black bag, the property of Fr William Fitzmaurice, in Bruff on May 7 last.

The district court in Kilmallock heard from Inspector Pat Brennan that witnesses had spotted Ms Maher trying to get into parked cars on the date.

A witness saw her “take the bag and discard it over a wall. Gardai stopped her and she admitted taking it. All the property was recovered,” Inspector Brennan told Judge Patricia Harney.

The court heard Ms Maher had 49 previous convictions, including burglary, criminal damage, possession of an article with intent to cause damage and public order.

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She had served two years for robbery and was convicted of false imprisonment, for which she received a three year suspended sentence and she had been given a 10 month jail sentence for handling stolen goods.

Her solicitor, Ted McCarthy, said that there had been a gap in her offending since she got out of jail. “It was the first time for her dealing with her addiction. She was on a methadone programme and left Limerick city where she was living on the streets. She moved to the county but relapsed for a time. She is back on methadone now.”

Judge Harney said she would give Ms Maher credit for making an early guilty plea and co-operating fully with the Gardai.

She remanded Ms Maher on bail until December 13 for a probation report.