THIEVES made off with €10,000 in cash after breaking into the home of artist Robert Ballagh.
Mr Ballagh returned to his house in Broadstone, Dublin 7, from shopping just before Christmas to discover the money was missing.
And the well-known painter has been informed by gardai the chances of getting the cash back are slim.
"The cash was sitting there. They came in, took the money and left. Nothing was touched really in the house apart from that. It just meant I worked for three months last year for nothing," he said.
Mr Ballagh (69) had been paid for three months' work and had left the money in a briefcase.
"When I came back I noticed nothing. I put away the shopping, made a cup of coffee, sat down. I was sitting in the front room and noticed that a plant was damaged and thought I must have knocked it coming in with the shopping," he said.
However, it turned out the plant was stepped on by the thieves entering through the back window.
His house has an alarm but it was not switched on. "I was only going to be out for about an hour and didn't think it was necessary," he said.
Since the robbery, he has not felt safe at home anymore.
"I am now about to embark on putting CCTV because the gardai told me that is the only effective deterrent," he said.
The cash was brand new notes, wrapped in bands.
Mr Ballagh had kept the money in his studio for a couple of weeks but took it home after deciding it was not safe.
He had intended going to the funeral of Sean Redmond, the former general secretary of the Connolly Association, but mistakenly thought it was on December 21.
The funeral was in fact a week later. After realising his error, Mr Ballagh went shopping before returning home.
He told RTE he was glad he did not go straight home as he would have met the thieves on his doorstep.
Mr Ballagh is one of Ireland's most distinguished artists and is represented in many collections including the National Gallery of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.